Florence makes landfall in US

Florence makes landfall in US

Florence makes landfall in US

WILMINGTON (North Carolina) • Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, crashed into the Carolinas yesterday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with flood waters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.

The 63-year-old former firefighter says he was able to sleep through the torrential rain and thrashing winds when then-Hurricane Florence made landfall early Friday morning, only waking up to texts he received at 7 a.m. from friends checking up on him.

Florence is moving toward the west near 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

Forecasters say the center of Hurricane Florence is hovering just inland near Cape Fear, North Carolina.

More than 60 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.

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

At 8 a.m. EDT, NHC noted "A life-threatening storm surge is already occurring along portions of the North Carolina coast and will continue through today and tonight".

Accuweather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said the worst is far from over.

Steve Troxler, North Carolina's Agriculture Commissioner, says preparation is key to minimizing losses.

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The wind howled and sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before dawn in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed. He apparently was blown down after he went outside to check on his hunting dogs, local media said.

In a hurricane, as Live Science has reported, the most significant threat is flooding, not the high winds.

Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of where the hurricane is expected to come ashore, was sunny around midday on Wednesday as the town appeared to be emptying.

Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater. The city said two FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more were on the way.

He said: "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Prisoners were affected, too.

People being rescued by the US Army, in New Bern, North Carolina.

Prior to Hurricane Florence's landfall, more than 1.7 million were ordered to evacuate the coast. Winds knocked down trees all over.

Ricardo Olivares, of Wilmington, North Carolina, covers windows at the Mellow Mushroom in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 11, 2018.

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According to the U.S. National Weather Service, there are 5.25 million residents in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places under tropical storm warnings or watches.

The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, as well as Washington D.C., declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm.

NewsHour has also published maps of flooding predictions for the coast.

Whenever a tropical cyclone makes landfall, it comes with powerful storm surge, hurricane and tropical-storm force winds, isolated tornadoes and very heavy rainfall.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000.

Officials say two people died in Lenoir County.

Others were at home hoping for the best.

"The evacuation was countywide, but since we're not in a flood zone, we weren't really anxious about that", she told VOA.

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At the White House, President Donald Trump both touted the government's readiness and urged people to get out of the way of Florence.

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