Deadly flood waters rise as Florence dumps 'epic' rain in US

Posted September 18, 2018

"The soil is soaked and can't absorb any more rain so that water has to go somewhere, unfortunately".

At least 23 people died in the aftermath of storm Florence battering U.S. East Coast since last week, the authorities said Monday.

Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land. "This is an epic storm that is still continuing because the rivers are still rising". Dozens more were rescued from a collapsed motel.

Tens of thousands of homes were damaged and at least 17 deaths were reported in North and SC.

Florence flattened trees, buckled buildings and crumpled roads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is instructing parents to keep children out of flood waters, which it says "can hide nails and broken glass, carry infectious diseases, and may contain sewage".

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 have everything I need for my whole family", Merlos said.

Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

North Carolina is confronting a spiralling crisis as tropical depression Florence slowly ravages the region, flooding cities, endangering communities from the coastline to the rugged mountains, and requiring many more than 1000 rescues. They don't have electricity themselves and many of their windows are still boarded up.

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Water on the Cape Fear River near Chinquapin got so high that electronic instruments used to monitor flooding quit working after it became submerged, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

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

She said Trump has been "quick to meet the requests" from North Carolina, whether it be a disaster or emergency declaration.

What's left of Florence is dragging itself north, dumping heavy rain Monday as it moves into the southern Appalachian Mountains.

About 532,338 customers in North Carolina and 61,000 in SC don't have power. Some of them tried to return home on Sunday, only to be stymied by closed roads, as creeks and rivers continued to flood. This water will flow downstream to areas already impacted from flooding rains from Florence. "And that's where you start to see deaths escalate", Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told USA television networks.

Floodwater from Hurricane Florence threatens homes in Dillon, South Carolina, Sept. 17, 2018.

The most rain so far from Florence was 86cm in Swansboro, North Carolina, a new record for a hurricane in the state. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

- A 3-month-old baby who died after a tree fell on a mobile home in Dallas, North Carolina.

"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard ... Thus far we have no known fatalities as a result of the impact of the storm", said Stephens. And emergency crews have performed more than 250 water rescues in the past 48 hours, with local fire crews teaming up with Indiana Task Force 1, a FEMA task force.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced meanwhile that she plans to visit North Carolina on Monday to discuss the response and recovery efforts and tour flood-affected areas. I was in one in Wilmington yesterday that had something like 400 cars waiting in line to fill their tanks and their canisters.

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