Science

Hurricane Florence Dumps 'Epic Amounts of Rainfall' On US States

Hurricane Florence Dumps 'Epic Amounts of Rainfall' On US States

Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia, could be in for heavy rains as Florence plods inland.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence broke a North Carolina rainfall record that had stood for nearly 20 years: Preliminary reports showed Swansboro got more than 30 inches (75 centimeters) and counting, obliterating the mark set in 1999, when Hurricane Floyd dropped just over 24 inches (60 centimeters) on the state.

SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas.

Rescues were underway even as Florence's heavy rains and winds continued to batter the region.

Evacuations underway in North Carolina.

More than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet before Sunday is out.

"I can not overstate it: flood waters are rising".

At 7 a.m., the center of the eye was located about 5 miles (10 kilometers) east of Wilmington, moving west at 6 mph. Its winds were down to 40 miles per hour (75 kph).

Coastal and river communities on the north side of Florence are getting the worst of the flooding as the hurricane swirls onto land pushing a life-threatening storm surge. The flash flooding could devastate communities and endanger dams, roads and bridges. The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to overrun their banks, possibly flooding cities and towns.

The hurricane, downgraded Friday afternoon to a tropical storm, was blamed by authorities for at least five deaths as of late in the day.




Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order lifting evacuation orders for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and the Edisto Beach area of Colleton County effective at noon Saturday. Rain draining from upriver, especially from hard-hit North Carolina, will come down rivers such as the Waccamaw, which isn't expected to crest in Conway for another three to five days. Rain-soaked furniture workers helped him quickly empty more than 1,000 mattresses from a warehouse in a low-lying strip mall. Over the course of two hours on Saturday morning, the water had risen 4 inches, he said.

North Carolina utilities estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said.

The coal-fired Sutton plant was retired in 2013 and the company has been excavating millions of tons of ash from old waste pits and removing it to safer lined landfills constructed on the property.

Officials had warned before the storm that the rains could risk tainting waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste.

One potential road out was blocked as flooding forced the shutdown of a 16-mile stretch of Interstate 95, the main route along the Eastern Seaboard. The Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based group of private boat owners whose role proved pivotal in Texas during Hurricane Harvey, had rescued more than 150 people by Friday alone.

Two others died in the state from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a generator inside their home, according to a local coroner. Mackie rode in a boat through a flooded neighborhood, navigating through trees and past a fencepost to reach the Knox house.

"Amazing. They did awesome", said Knox, who was stranded with seven others, including a boy carried out in a life vest.

New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said 455 people in all were rescued in the town of 30,000 residents without any serious injuries or deaths.

The doors of many homes suffered so much wind damage they appeared to have been kicked in, while the city's beloved fibre-glass bear statues, which are sponsored by local businesses, were floating down streets.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.


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