5 dead in Hurricane Florence, including mom and infant

16 September, 2018, 00:04 | Author: Emilio Conner
  • City of New Bern N.C. a bear statue floats in flood waters on South Front street in New Bern N.C. on Friday Sept. 14 2018. Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 mph winds and terrifying sto

North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, labelled the storm "an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".

Having punished the Carolinas with winds, heavy rains and record flooding, Hurricane Florence was downgraded Friday afternoon to a tropical storm, still packing a punch with 70 miles per hour winds.

There have been two fatalities in Kinston as a result of Florence, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail.

A mother and infant were killed in Wilmington, N.C. after a tree fell on a house there while the Category 1 hurricane throttled the eastern North Carolina coastline Friday morning. The child's injured father was hospitalized.

Atlantic Beach, located on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, had received 76cm of rain, the US Geological Survey said.

The third death happened in Hampstead, Pender County when a woman had a medical emergency and EMS crews could not get to her due to the storm, according to Tom Collins, Director of Emergency Management.

The storm originally made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday morning as a category one hurricane.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticised as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000. "And since we're already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others", she said.

One of the towns worst affected is New Bern, which sits between the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina.

Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm with diminished winds, but it has stalled over the Wilmington region as predicted and will continue drenching the area with historic and catastrophic rain, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. briefing.

More news: Hurricane Florence: 4 storm-related deaths reported

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and into the northeastern coast of SC in spots.

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

There were no immediate reports of storm-related deaths or serious injuries, but authorities said more than 100 people were rescued further north in New Bern, where the downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was under water. Along coastal communities, people trapped in homes by relentless flood waters awaited rescue, and tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached. With Florence, "we're looking at the same amount of rainfall in three days".

New Bern residents were putting out calls for help on social media, claiming they couldn't get through to 911. Jennifer Morales, 20, said there was 3 feet of water in her home.

Residents have been warned that they could see further destruction through flooding and landslides in the coming hours, as the death toll reaches five people on Saturday.

FEMA teams were employing boats in the rescues and were determining which cases were the most severe. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

"About 11:30, 12 (midnight), the water came into the house".

"New Bern is just not used to this level of a hurricane", Outlaw said. "So, even if it was just a tropical storm and trees went down we'd have a hard time getting here".

"I honestly cried", Kittrell said.

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