Monday, 24 September, 2018

SC governor gives update on Florence response at 2:30 PM

This retired Marine is rescuing storm victims in his military transport vehicle Relentless rain threatens North Carolina agricultural town
Steven Clarke | 16 September, 2018, 12:12

Mandatory evacuations were ordered ahead of Florence's landfall in parts of North and SC, though many people chose to remain in their homes for reasons ranging from financial concerns and the need to care for pets that they may not have been able to take to some evacuation shelters, some who stayed in their residences told ABC News ahead of the storm.

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

Numerous state highways leading out of town were also disappearing under water. As of Saturday afternoon, about 752,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster asked people to remain patient during a last-minute news conference before Hurricane Florence begins to impact the state.

Bergaw Mayor Pete Cowan warned that the local hospital was not accessible; it had already been evacuated. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband. Forecasters said the torrents could continue for days, touching off disastrous flooding.

Florence diminished from hurricane strength as it came ashore on Friday, but the large storm's slow progress across the two states could leave much of the region under water in the coming days, according to forecasters.

Its sustained winds had weakened to 45 miles per hour and the storm was expected to further downgrade to a tropical depression by Saturday night.

The storm has killed at least five people in North Carolina. "Catastrophic flooding, long term major river flooding, life-threatening storm surge, and wind damage are occurring or imminent".

Mike Pollack searches for a drain in the yard of his flooded waterfront home a day after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Officials warned that the flooding was only just starting.

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. "It kind of scared us but then she contacted us this morning and said her phone was acting up or something like that and she's fine". "But we're still in the throes of it". "We face walls of water".

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Governor Roy Cooper said.

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"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches". More than 60 people had to be rescued in another town as a cinderblock motel collapsed at the height of the storm's fury.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", Cooper said.

Cline said July was the wettest ever in that part of North Carolina, and the water table rose 21 inches higher than normal.

"We just don't want people to think this is over because it's not".

Under a vehicle port on Route 117 South in Burgaw, Kevin Everett's family cooked pancakes and bacon on a charcoal grill.

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"I'll grow concerned if the water starts getting close to my truck".

"Please take this seriously", he said.

In other parts of the state, those who chose to stay behind and ride out the storm needed rescuing as the storm stalled.

He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet (3 metres).

Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house. The tropical storm's maximum sustained winds are holding steady, remaining at around 50 miles per hour, with higher gusts in heavy rainbands over water, the NWS said. "I was looking for water moccasins to hit me at any time", he said.

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