Death Toll From Florence Rises To Double Digits

Death Toll From Florence Rises To Double Digits

Death Toll From Florence Rises To Double Digits

In North and SC was energized more than 620 thousand households.

With the center of the storm still at sea early Friday, scores of residents had to be rescued from homes and the tops of cars in New Bern, North Carolina.

In Kinston, more than an hour's drive inland from the coast, Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a man was electrocuted as he attempted to connect extension cords outside in the rain.

In its initial onslaught along the coast, Florence buckled buildings, deluged entire communities and knocked out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses.

Florence drove almost 1 million people from their homes and almost 700,000 lost power.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the State in several feet of water.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", Cooper said.

Storm surge of up to 13 feet will be "life threatening" and rainfall of up to 40 inches will mean "catastrophic" flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Police in Wilmington say a mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their house.

Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, the sheriff's office said.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

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

Heavy flooding hit several communities at some stage in North Carolina, along with Belhaven, Jacksonville and Wilmington.Authorities ordered larger than 1.7 million people to evacuate the mumble ahead of the storm this week.


Homes are boarded up before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Carolina Beach, N.C.

By Friday evening, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm, its winds weakened to 70 mph (112 kph) as it moved forward at 3 mph (6 kph) about 15 miles (25 kilometers) north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain. SC recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle hit a tree that had fallen across a highway. Five hundred National Guard troops have already responded to calls.

There are 62 industrial hog farms within North Carolina's 100-year floodplain, environmentalists estimate, and Duke Energy Corp has four coal ash sites in the coastal area touched by Florence.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. It tore roofs and facades off buildings and toppled trees.

The tree's massive size required special equipment from rescuers also battling whipping winds and pelting rain to extricate them.

Sustained wind speeds were clocked at 50 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Grounded: Nearly 2,400 flights canceled.

Eudy's family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2:30 a.m.

Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighborhood during Florence's assault. Follow us here to get the latest warnings.

"Pretty soon I had a hundred of my closest friends out here helping us out", Britt said.

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