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Hurricane Florence: Trump declares North Carolina a ‘major disaster’

15 September 2018

The hurricane was also deadly, killing five people.

Firefighters in North Carolina took a moment to kneel and pray at the site where a mother and baby were killed by a tree that fell down during Hurricane Florence. A 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said. A Pender County woman died of a heart attack.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is giving another update on the state's response to Tropical Storm Florence. "The house is shaking back and forth much more violently than when the eyewall came through".

The enormous storm crept at a 6 miles per hour pace, making it clear that the trouble was just beginning. People were stuck in their cars, attics and rooftops, waiting for rescuers in boats.

The rain has turned sideways, rivers are swollen and flood waters are swamping streets as the fury of Hurricane Florence threatens the Carolina's with life-threatening conditions.

It already had, in Beaufort County and its capital city, Washington, where 300 people were rescued from flooded homes.

"It has slowed", he said. "We're going to have to have patience, we're going to have to be careful and we're going to have to deal with a lot of water".

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

But the size of the storm meant the path didn't really matter. The center of the storm is expected to make landfall near Wilmington between 8 a.m. and noon.

Forecasters said the Category 1 storm's extreme size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day. "More people now face imminent threat than when the storm was offshore".

Horry County officials told The Sun News that emergency personnel are still responding to calls and never stopped.

Power outages increased throughout Friday.

More than 810,000 people lacked power in North Carolina, and another 170,000 outages were reported in SC, according to emergency-management agencies.

Top sustained winds are now about 100 km/h and the storm is moving to the west-southwest at 7 km/h - a track that is expected to continue through early Saturday.

A man was killed when plugging in a generator, according to a release from Gov. Roy Cooper's office. Trying to return too soon, or using drones to survey damage, "can interfere with and delay the work of emergency responders".

But the rescue effort was made hard due to the size of the tree, Wilmington Fire Department Chief Jon Mason said in a statement. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".

Storm surges - the bulge of ocean water pushed ashore by the hurricane - were as high as 10 feet.

Cooper said nearly all the buildings in town, including homes and businesses, are going to be fine. Five hundred National Guard troops had responded to calls by 11 a.m. Friday. "This will cause extremely unsafe flooding". "This is a 500- or 1,000-year event".

More than 22,600 people in North Carolina were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena.

In the Columbia area, Richland District Two school officials planned to meet on Sunday afternoon to assess the district and decide whether to reopen on Monday, district superintendent Baron Davis said Saturday.

Others who chose to stay at home perhaps regretted their decision.

Rivers have already burst their banks in some areas with the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina yesterday spewing water over its banks and into nearby streets. The city of New Bern tweeted to its residents early Friday morning, "We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue".

Hurricane Florence: Trump declares North Carolina a ‘major disaster’