More than a thousand flights canceled in advance of Hurricane Florence

Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach

A woman in Pender County, North Carolina, died from a heart attack after calling emergency services, as paramedics could not reach her because of fallen trees.

Two people in Lenoir County were killed: a 78-year-old Kinston man who was electrocuted when connecting extension cords in the rain and a 77-year-old man who was blown down by the wind when he went to check on his hunting dogs.

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned that life-threatening storm surges - in which water is pushed by a storm over land that would normally be dry - and catastrophic freshwater flooding were still expected.

The city warns that people "may need to move up to the second story" but tells them to stay put as "we are coming to get you".

Seventy people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.

The centre of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 7:15am (local time) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 150kph, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.

By mid-afternoon the winds had dropped to 75 miles per hour (120 kph) and the center was moving west at 6 miles per hour (10 kph), the NHC said, and parts of North and SC would get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 meter).

Florence's center may linger for another whole day along coastal North and SC - punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who've stayed behind.

Isolated tornadoes will be possible in the northern Midlands and Pee Dee area, which are expected to get between 8-15 inches of rain, according to NWS Columbia. "The longer you have this hurricane wind flow, the longer you push that water well inland", he said.

"This is going to be a very trying period for the state", he said."We're liable to have flash floods, bridges and roads washed out".

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in SC ahead of the storm.

"Trees are blowing down in the wind".

"And from that point, we started hearing where people were saying on phone calls, 'I love you, ' to their family members because they were not sure they were going to get out of it alive", she said Friday.

"I about jumped out of my skin", he said in a phone interview Friday morning.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", he said.

Duke Energy, the nation's No. 2 power company, said Florence could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate before the streets became inundated.

Hurricane Florence approached the Carolinas early Thursday morning with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour - just below a Category 3 storm.

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said. Although it has shown signs of weakening, it will remain a powerful force, forecasters say.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.

Others, though, chose to stay at home and perhaps regretted their decision.

A friend later tweeted that the woman and her family had been rescued.

"It looks heavy outside", she said.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic. An estimated 1.5 million people live in the areas now under mandatory evacuation orders by state authorities.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.