Eleven Dead As Hurricane Florence Deluge Continues
- Author: Valerie Cook Sep 18, 2018,
Sep 18, 2018, 6:57
Still, there was some good news: Power outages in the Carolinas and Virginia were down to about 580,000 homes and businesses after reaching a high of about 910,000 as the hurricane plowed into the coast.
"The flood danger from this storm is more immediate today than when it. made landfall 24 hours ago", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday.
Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington late Saturday, but there was no indication contamination had drained into the nearby Cape Fear River.
"[Florence] will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", Steve Goldstein, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's liaison to FEMA, said Saturday. More than 15,000 people are staying at 150 emergency shelters.
A 16-mile stretch of a main highway out of the area, I-95, was shutdown due to severe flooding. About 756,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC and surrounding states, down from a peak of almost 1 million.
The storm killed at least 11 people in North Carolina, including a mother and child killed by a falling tree, state officials said. Tanya Caulder of Coward, South Carolina, found a giant tree in her front lawn after spending two nights at a shelter.
The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some affected counties. Trump later tweeted his condolences, writing, "Deepest sympathies and warmth go out to the families and friends of the victims".
Life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods and prolonged significant river flooding are possible in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and the southern to central Appalachias to western North Carolina to west-central Virginia and far-eastern West Virginia into early next week, the National Weather Service said.
"That's why I got this thing, to use in times like this", he said.
However, officials fear the worst from Florence is yet to come.
Of those numbers, helicopter crews from across the Coast Guard have rescued 133 people and 20 pets in North Carolina since Hurricane Florence began. On Saturday, its streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris. The Transportation Department is strongly recommending that residents find high ground and remain there until the risk of flooding has decreased. Although more than $740 million in federal, state and local funds have been spent to address Matthew's damages, state officials are still working to distribute $236 million allocated by the federal government past year to help reimburse or pay for extensive home repairs. The site lost enough material to fill around two-thirds of an Olympic-sized pool, the company said in a statement, adding that it did not believe the incident posed a risk to health or the environment.
Florence "has been most unpredictable, but what has been predictable and steady is our concern for heavy rain and flooding", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
There have been 11 deaths in North Carolina and three in SC linked to Hurricane Florence as of Saturday night. Florence set a record in the state for rain from a hurricane, dumping 33.9 inches (86 cm) in Swansboro, North Carolina.
In New Bern, at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina, Florence overwhelmed the town of 30,000, with the downtown area under water. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.
The mayor of this eastern North Carolina city had a stark warning Saturday for residents in the path of potentially unprecedented flooding from Tropical Storm Florence: Leave.