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Sunday, 18 Nov 2018

Life-threatening storm surge is being reported along Carolina coast

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The storm surge rips a garage door off of its hinges as items inside are pushed by the flooding waters on ThursdayThe storm surge rips a garage door off of its hinges as items inside are pushed by the flooding waters on Thursday

News24xx.com - Around 150 people are trapped in the city of New Bern, North Carolina, amid rising floodwaters as the eyewall of Hurricane Florence began to reach the East Coast.

Two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on their way early on Friday.

City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said the storm surge continues to increase as Florence passes over the area, where 200 people have already been rescued. 

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the Neuse River near the city is recording more than 10 feet (3.05 meters) of inundation. 

The NHC said early on Friday that a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, around 84 miles north of Wilmington, recently reported 6.6 feet (2 meters) of inundation.

Rain begins to fall as the outer of Hurricane Florence make landfall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Thursday night

As of 4am, Florence was 30 miles (45 kilometers) east of Wilmington. Its forward movement was 6 mph (9 kph). 

Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). 

Life-threatening storm surge was already being reported along the coast of the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power as it inched closer to the East Coast. 

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Storm surge waters were seen damaging beachfront homes in Topsail Beach, north of Wilmington, on Thursday evening and the Neuse River burst its banks, causing rapid flooding in New Bern and forcing residents to flee as the entire city lost power. 

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land on Friday, with winds dropping to around 90 mph (144 kph) by nightfall, but forecasters say 'catastrophic' freshwater flooding is still expected over parts of the Carolinas.

But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

'The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come,' he said.  

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland. 

Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.


Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia. 

In North Carolina, 156,068 people lost power and 12,000 were in shelters as the storm began buffeting the coast. 

The top counties affected were Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender. Officials fear power losses could affect up to three million people.

In South Carolina, more than 400,000 people have evacuated the state's coast and more than 4,000 people have taken refuge in shelters, officials said.  Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia.

 

 

 

 

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