Florence's Death Toll Stands at 15 as It Weakens to a Depression

17 September, 2018, 04:00 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Rescue workers from the Township No. 7 Fire Department and volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team use a truck to move people rescued from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence on Sept. 14 2018 in James City N.C. (Chip Somodevilla  Gett

George Washington University researchers are standing by their study that found the death toll following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was 2,975, considerably higher than first thought.

Wilmington Police confirmed that a mother and her infant died when a tree fell on their home. They died when a large tree came down over the back of their home, crushing and killing them while leaving the child's father hospitalized Friday morning. "We might leave", she said. "We have an old jail building, and there was a sally port where vehicles could drive down into it", she says.

Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that 'a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC'.

The storm's death toll climbed to 15 when a pickup truck ran off Interstate 20 in SC and struck an overpass support, killing the driver.

"We have a house that was destroyed in Irma", Griffin said.

Weakened to a tropical depression early on Sunday after blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 miles per hour (145 kmph) winds on Friday, Florence was still spinning slowly atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore.

He said flooding will continue for days and the full magnitude of the hurricane is unknown.

"We're deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away".

Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast. Both states also are at a risk of risky flash floods and river flooding.

"We want you home but you can't come yet". He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

As of Friday morning, the state was housing nearly 20,000 people in 157 shelters, Gov. Cooper told Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition.

At 9 a.m., the center of Florence was wobbling about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 85 mph, according to the hurricane center.

The storm continued to crawl westward, dumping more than 30 inches of rain in spots since Friday, and fears of historic flooding grew. Officials say more than 100 people have already been rescued in the area overnight.

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Residents' belongings at Queen's Point condos in New Bern, N.C. are strewn about after the storm surge tore open the building's lower floors.

In New Bern, where a curfew was in place, city authorities said hundreds of people had been rescued from homes inundated with water.

Among those volunteers was the Cajun Navy, a volunteer rescue organization formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

On Saturday some residents tried to return home, driving through flooded highways and armed with chainsaws to clear fallen pine trees that covered the road.

The city woke Friday to the sound of exploding electrical transformers with strong gusts throwing street signs and other debris as well as water in all directions. Florence, meanwhile, was still plodding across SC at a pace slower than a normal person walks. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind does.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

- A neon sign was no match for Hurricane strength winds.

"Every major route, and those around them, to the coast is flooded", tweeted the North Carolina Department of Transportation about conditions in eastern North Carolina.

In Wilmington, Mason Tarr said he spent the night at a friend's house but didn't sleep well.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said Florence eventually could strike as a Category 1 with winds less than 100mph, but that is still enough to cause at least $1 billion in damage. "I wonder how it would have been with a Category 4 or 5". Hedgepeth was moved to higher ground.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

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