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Saturday – Florence Update: Carolinas Face More Flooding

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Florence - updated Saturday 2018-09-22After a week of flash floods, rising rivers, power outages, and now over 44 deaths, North and South Carolina face high chances of more flooding over the weekend.

While the rain subsided, some rivers are still rising. Officials warn the danger is far from over.

• The Cape Fear River and Lumber River will both crest again this weekend.

• New areas are flooding with little warning. Travel is not recommended south of US 64.

• Many roads that are no longer flooded are still not safe, due to damage and debris from the storm.

• Trillions of gallons of water are slowly moving toward the ocean, leaving a wake of destruction.

• Residents were warned that the confluence of the Big Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee Rivers could reach levels greater than experienced during Hurricane Matthew.

Source: CNN
 

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Friday – Florence Update: NC Restoration Work Continues

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Florence - updated Friday 2018-09-21North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are continuing to make electricity outage restoration progress in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Outages statewide have now dropped to about 23,000, down from a high of 326,000 on Saturday.

Outages & restoration

Remaining outages are concentrated in the hardest-hit areas of coastal and southeastern North Carolina.

Cooperative crews from less-impacted regions are joining local, out-of-state and contract crews in more heavily damaged communities to help restore power as quickly as possible. In areas where restoration points are inaccessible due to flooding or damaged roadways, or where damage to power poles and power lines is severe, the restoration effort may last several more days.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are continuing to make electricity outage restoration progress in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Cooperative outages statewide have now dropped to about 23,000, down from a high of 326,000 on Saturday.

Outages and restoration:
Remaining outages are concentrated in the hardest-hit areas of coastal and southeastern North Carolina.

Cooperative crews from less-impacted regions are joining local, out-of-state and contract crews in more heavily damaged communities to help restore power as quickly as possible. In areas where restoration points are inaccessible due to flooding or damaged roadways, or where damage to power poles and power lines is severe, the restoration effort may last several more days.

Gratitude

We thank cooperative members for their patience and many kind words as crews and co-op staff have worked tirelessly and diligently to rebuild after the storm and historic flooding. Restoring power quickly and safely is the electric cooperatives’ priority. We will continue working to bring the lights back on for all members.

Safety

• If your home was flooded, and water reached the electric meter, electric service cannot be restored until inspections are done and approvals are granted. Energizing structures that have been compromised by flood waters that reached the member’s electric meter can result in house fires as well as serious personal injury or death.
• Help keep our crews safe. If you see utility crews working on the side of the road, slow down and drive carefully.
• Never wade into or drive through flood water.
• Only use generators and charcoal grills in well-ventilated outdoor areas; a garage does not count as an area with adequate ventilation.
• Never connect a generator directly to a home’s wiring. Instead, use an extension cord to plug lights and appliances into the generator.
• Never touch a downed power line, and remember that sometimes debris can cover fallen lines, making them difficult to spot.

 

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Thursday – Florence Update: Carolinas expect more flooding

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Florence - updated Thursday 2018-09-20 6:30amWater has receded in some areas of the Carolinas, but more flooding from Florence could arrive through the next few days.

More than twelve rivers in North and South Carolina have overflowed their banks and the water – particularly the Waccamaw River, which spans both states – is expected to overflow, putting additional residents in danger. Officers have been going door-to-door along the river in Brunswick County, North Carolina encouraging residents to evacuate.

Summary and outlook

• Flooding expected to worsen in next few days.
• At least 36 killed so far.
• More than 115,000 still without power.

Florence dropped more than 35 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina, and many areas remained cut off by floodwaters and inundated roads. The storm, which made landfall on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, has since been downgraded to a tropical depression and moved into the northeast.

The deaths of at least 36 people have been attributed to the storm, including 27 in North Carolina, eight in South Carolina, and one in Virginia. The latest victims were two women in South Carolina who drowned on Tuesday when a sheriff’s department van in which they were riding was swept away by flooding.

Some 2,600 people had been rescued by boat or helicopter in North Carolina alone since the storm hit land, according to the state Department of Public Safety. About 10,000 remained in shelters, the department said. More than 115,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, according to Poweroutage.us early on Thursday. As floodwaters continue to rise concerns are growing over the environmental and health dangers lurking in the water. The flooding has caused 21 hog “lagoons,” which store manure from pig farms, to overflow, creating a risk the standing water will be contaminated with bacteria like salmonella, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. North Carolina is one of the leading hog-producing States in the country.

Several sewer systems in the region have also released untreated or partly treated sewage and storm water into waterways over the last week, local media reported.

Commentary from political leaders

President Trump met with first responders in Conway, South Carolina on Wednesday and warned them of the danger of rising rivers.

“It’s going to get rough for South Carolina,” he told them. “You’re going to have a rebuilding process, and we are behind you from day one,” Trump said, calling this the “calm before the storm, because you’re going to have a lot of water.”

Conway’s city spokesman Taylor Newell said water could be “4 feet higher” there than when Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents to “stay alert” as water rises.

“People in flood prone areas or near waterways need to remain alert as rivers crest and stay above their banks in coming days,” Cooper said.

Sources: ABC, CNN, and Reuters
 

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Wednesday – Florence Update: NC Gov pleads “Do not return home yet”

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Florence - updated Wednesday 2018-09-19 7:30amNorth Carolina’s governor is pleading with thousands of Hurricane Florence evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

Wilmington is still mostly an island surrounded by floodwaters, and people are waiting for hours for handouts of necessities like food.

Gov. Roy Cooper told a news conference Tuesday is was hard for residents to leave home, and it’s even harder for them to wait to go back. But Cooper says many roads are dangerous and new hazards are possible as floodwaters fall.

Officials say about 10,000 people are in shelters, and a new one is opening in one hard-hit county.

Aides say President Donald Trump will visit North Carolina on Wednesday to see the damage. He’s already tweeted that any criticism of the government response is a “total lie.”

 

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Tuesday – Florence highlights to date

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Hurricane Florence - updated Tuesday 2018-09-18 11am• At least 32 people have died in storm-related incidents — 25 in North Carolina, 6 in South Carolina, and 1 in Virginia.

• About 500,000 homes and businesses are still without power, mostly in North Carolina and some in South Carolina.

• As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Florence was a post-tropical cyclone. It was located about 105 miles west-northwest of New York City with maximum sustained winds of 25 mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.

• “The remnants of Florence are expected to produce heavy to potentially excessive rainfall through Tuesday,” NHC says. “Portions of the northern mid-Atlantic states northeast through southern New England are expected to receive an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain, with isolated maximum amounts of 4 inches possible.”

• The Cape Fear River is set to crest at 62 feet Tuesday.

• Nearly 36 inches of rain has fallen over Elizabethtown, North Carolina, reports CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN-TV. Other towns have seen roughly 30 inches since Thursday.

Source: Express.co.uk
 

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Tuesday – Major flooding ravages Carolinas as Florence nears Vermont

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Florence - updated Tuesday 2018-09-18 8amFlorence continues to wreak destruction long after the worst of the storm has dissipated, with major flooding continuing to blast many areas of North and South Carolina.

Several large rivers and creeks have broken their banks, threatening homes with further damage after the tropical depression Florence, once a major hurricane, made landfall in North Carolina on Friday.

CNBC’s Contessa Brewer reported from Lumberton, North Carolina where the River Lumber had flooded to record levels.

She said: “The good news is that the Lumber River is receding, but it’s still running at 22 ft, that is well above flood stage by 13ft. It’s still running at record flood stage, the record previously was 21.8 ft. It’s not the only river of concern though, as the Cape Fear River — for Fayetteville especially that’s a massive concern — is already running at 58.9 ft.”

CNBC has estimated that damage from Hurricane Florence could total to over $22 billion, but the exact figure was uncertain “until the flooding is over.”

Florence has dumped up to 36 inches (91cm) of rain on the state since Thursday and the storm has already killed at least 23 people.

Days before the powerful storm reached the US East Coast officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for more than one million people.

Some residents chose to stay behind when the storm crashed into the Carolinas.

So far 23 deaths have been confirmed, six in South Carolina and 17 in North Carolina.

Mandatory evacuation orders are still active.

In Fayetteville, home to approximately 210,000, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by Sunday afternoon because of the flood risk.

Mitch Colvin, Mayor of Fayetteville, North Carolina said: “If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notifying your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible. The worst is yet to come.”

Florence has continued to produce widespread heavy rains over much of North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina.

More than 641,000 (now down to an estimated ~500,000) homes and businesses were without electricity in North and South Carolina and surrounding states, down from a peak of nearly one million.

Sources: Express.co.uk & CNBC
 

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Monday – Florence highlights to date

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Hurricane Florence - updated Monday 2018-09-17 9am• At least 17 people have died, including a man and a woman in Horry County, S.C. who died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Approximately 523,000 homes and businesses are still without power in North and South Carolina as of 5 a.m. Monday.

• As of 5 a.m. Monday, Florence was a tropical depression, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center said, with sustained winds of 30 mph.

• Wilmington, North Carolina, has been completely cut off by floodwaters and officials are asking for additional help from state law enforcement and the National Guard.

• Some weakening is expected today before Florence re-intensifies as it transitions to an extratropical cyclone tomorrow and Wednesday.

• Flash flood watches are in effect across much of North Carolina, northern South Carolina, and portions of Southwest Virginia.

 

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Sunday – Florence continues to produce widespread heavy rains

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Flash flood warnings are currently in effect across a large portion of southeastern North Carolina and portions of far northeastern South Carolina.

Hurricane Florence - updated Sunday 2018-09-16 5amFlash flood watches are in effect across much of North Carolina, northern South Carolina, and portions of Southwest Virginia.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Depression Florence was located near latitude 34.0 North, longitude 81.8 West. The depression is moving toward the north-northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue through the day on Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1002 mb (29.59 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

RAINFALL
Florence is expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall in the following areas:

Southeastern, Central and western North Carolina, far northern South Carolina into far southwest Virginia, Southeastern North Carolina and far northeast South Carolina: Additional 3 to 6 inches of rain with isolated maximum of 8 inches possible with storm total accumulations of 30 to 40 inches likely. These rainfall amounts will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.

Central and Western North Carolina: far northern South Carolina and far southwest Virginia: Additional 5 to 10 inches of rain, with storm total accumulations of 15 to 20 inches likely. These rainfall amounts will produce flash flooding and an elevated risk for landslides in western North Carolina and far southwest Virginia.

West-central Virginia: 2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches. This rainfall will result in flash flooding and potentially lead to some river flooding.

For more information on rainfall totals please see the Storm Summary available at www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/discussions/nfdscc4.html.

TORNADOES
A few tornadoes remain possible across southeast North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina today and tonight.

 

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Saturday – Florence drenches Carolinas as death toll rises, rescues ongoing

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Hurricane Florence - updated Saturday 2018-09-15 5amRescue and response operations are underway Saturday September 15 in the Carolinas after Hurricane Florence battered homes in multiple States up and down the coast, killing more than seven people and leaving millions of others without power.

Residents were warned that while the buffeting winds have calmed some, the torrential downpour will most likely continue through the weekend, producing flash floods and possible landslides, making it difficult for evacuated residents to return home and assess the damage.

New Bern, North Carolina Mayor Dana Outlaw urged residents not to return just yet.

“We have a lot of downed power lines. We’re very concerned with these energized lines and folks could get hurt. So give the city time to get out and assess our infrasture and get the roads safe for you to travel.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an “uninvited brute” that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land.

“The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending,” he said.

Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday, but despite the dip, Florence continued deluging the area Saturday with storm-force winds swirling 350 miles wide. It is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by late Saturday, forecasters said.

Some towns have already seen 2 feet of rain from Florence, with forecasters saying the number could go as high 3 1/2 feet and trigger epic flooding inland into early next week.

Friday saw frantic rescue operations underway, as first responders pulled more than 360 trapped and stranded residents to safety.

Authorities have confirmed seven deaths and fear the number will go higher as the tropical storm crawls westward Saturday across South Carolina.

Among those killed are a mother and her 8-month baby, who were crushed when a tree fell on their house. The father was trapped inside for hours but first responders were able to get him out and take him to the hospital.

In a separate incident, a 77-year-old man was knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said. The governor’s office said a fourth man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

Two more deaths were confirmed Saturday morning, first reported by the Charlotte Observer; however, details were not immediately available.

Dozens of people were also pulled from a collapsed motel in New Bern.

Since its roared ashore, Florence has flattened trees, buckled buildings and crumpled roads. The storm knocked out power to nearly 930,000 homes and businesses, and the number could keep rising.

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

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

“I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth,” he said.

Florence peaked at a Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the South Carolina line. It blew ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

By Saturday morning, top sustained winds had weakened to 50 mph as it moved farther inland at 5 mph about 35 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches of rain by Friday night, and forecasters warned Saturday morning that parts of the Carolinas could get up to 15 inches more.

At times, Florence was moving forward no faster than a human can walk, and it has remained such a wide storm that its counter-clockwise winds keep scooping up massive amounts of moisture from the sea. The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in South Carolina, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, maximum peril could come days later as all that water drains, overflowing rivers and causing flash floods.

Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

Florence could become a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared last year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at nearly 3,000.

The hurricane center said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the Mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue, of weathermodels.com, calculated that Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. That’s enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with nearly 4 inches of water.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door to door to pull more than 60 people out as the Triangle Motor Inn began to crumble.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril.

“WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU,” the city tweeted during the height of the storm. “You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU.”

Boat teams, including volunteers, rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighborhood during Florence’s assault.

“The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard … We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees,” said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor’s appointment that was later canceled. She was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited help.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs and were left shaken.

“Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington. I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me,” she said. “We might leave.”

Sources: Associated Press, CNN, Fox News.
 

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Friday – Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

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Hurricane Florence - updated Friday 2018-09-14 9amHurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, but its crawling pace and overwhelming storm surges are setting up hours and hours of destruction and human suffering — with dozens desperately awaiting rescue in one flooded city alone.

The hurricane, with wind of more than 90 mph and 3 inches of rain an hour, made landfall at 7:15 a.m. ET near Wrightsville Beach, just east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Florence’s center may linger for another entire day along coastal North and South Carolina — punishing homes with wind and floods and endangering those who’ve stayed behind.

In the North Carolina city of New Bern, by 9am ET Friday rescuers had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters, with about 150 waiting as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet.

“In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest,” said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home. “We are stuck in the attic.”

Officials urged residents there to take shelter at the highest points of their homes, including rooftops.
Florence’s rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolinas, and gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods, forecasters said.

 

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