Florence has plowed into the Carolinas and lumbered slowly inland, knocking down trees, gorging rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leaving at least five people dead before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.
کد خبر: ۸۳۴۰۹۴
تاریخ انتشار: ۲۴ شهريور ۱۳۹۷ - ۰۹:۳۸ 15 September 2018

Florence has plowed into the Carolinas and lumbered slowly inland, knocking down trees, gorging rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leaving at least five people dead before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 560-kilometre-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and South Carolina in the coming days could leave much of the region under water.

"The storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, calling it "an uninvited brute that doesn't want to leave."

The dead included a mother and baby who were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. The child's injured father was taken to a hospital. In the state's Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

Two people died in Lenoir County. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man perished when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

In New Bern, North Carolina, a historic city founded in the early 1700s at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers., the storm surge overwhelmed its 30,000 residents.

Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street.

“We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway,” he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change. “My wife’s in a panic right now.”

Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 193km/h winds as of Thursday, local time, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington.

The National Hurricane Centre downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it would dump as much as 70 to 100 centimetres of rain on the coasts of North and South Carolina.

With all the coverage coming out of hurricane Florence, one reporter got show up trying to add a little drama to his report.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding," the hurricane centre said.

Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 76 cm of rain, the US Geological Survey said.

North Carolina utilities have estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said. More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University’s basketball arena.

Officials in New Bern said over 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon. Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and the tide rolled in.

"These are folks who decided to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation," city public information officer Colleen Roberts said. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they’re seeing the floodwaters rise."

New Bern resident Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming against his front porch. They ventured out in life jackets into waste-deep water to tie the boat and another floating by to a tree.

Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern partly to protect their house. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was,” he said. “This is a 500 or 1000-year event.”

The White House said on Friday that US President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help. Trump planned a visit to the region next week.

The storm was expected to head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said. Significant weakening was expected over the weekend.

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