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Flood waters rise as Florence pummels Carolinas; at least eight dead

Flood waters rise as Florence pummels Carolinas; at least eight dead

As Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, continued to chart a path of destruction across North and SC on Saturday, school gymnasiums morphed into makeshift shelters for thousands of people displaced from their homes in nearby flood-prone areas.

Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree fell on a house in Wilmington, N.C.as Hurricane Florence came ashore, September 14, 2018.

"This is a hurricane event followed by a flood event", said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. The southeast town of Newport, N.C., reported a rainfall total of nearly 24 inches as of midnight Saturday.

Florence made landfall on the East Coast Friday morning with wind speeds of 195 miles per hour.

"If we are ever going to have a Category 6 (a speculated-on level that's above current measurement tools), the western Pacific is where it's going to be", said meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com.

The center said the storm would dump as much as 40 inches (102 cm) of rain along coastal areas of the Carolinas, as well as up to 10 inches in southwestern Virginia.

The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas.

More than 800,000 homes and businesses have lost power and Mr Cooper said the danger from flooding would linger for days. The crews tried to move the debris with a front loader, but a tree went through the windshield, causing further delays, the officials said.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

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"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state", Cooper said during a briefing on the Category 1 storm, which made landfall about 7:15 a.m. near Wrightsville Beach. Once winds drop to 73 miles per hour, Florence will become a tropical storm. About 10 million people could be affected by the storm.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police.

In Pender County, a woman died from a heart attack after paramedics were not able to get to her.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico". Meanwhile, two men can be seen in the background strolling casually with no effort in the rain.

That's how hard the wind gusted in North Carolina's New River inlet.

Some of the worst flooding was in the town of New Bern, where many residents were trapped in their water-logged homes.

More than 100 people were rescued and up to 75 more were awaiting rescue on Saturday morning, according to a town official.

New Bern's mayor said 4,200 homes were damaged in the city.

Some local residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit early on Friday. As he struggled to maintain his balance against the high winds and rain, Seidel says, "This is about as nasty as it's been". And their storm surges are more destructive because climate change has already made the seas rise. In neighboring SC, 155,000 customers are without power, officials said.


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