'Historic storm' lashes Carolinas with heavy rain, floods

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm — but the danger’s far from over

A surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast. The storm's forward speed had slowed to 6 miles per hour, and forecasters were concerned it might have stalled.

With recent official reports finding that last year's Hurricane Maria claimed almost 3,000 lives in Puerto Rico-an assertion that re-emerged onto the national spotlight Thursday after President Donald Trump, without providing evidence, alleged that those estimates were artificially inflated and politically motivated-it's worth exploring what it is that ultimately kills people, including the most vulnerable, when a hurricane strikes.

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina border and makes its way slowly inland.

More than 22,600 people in North Carolina were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster. Some roads were already impassable in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

"There is going to be a lot of rain".

"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come", he said. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said Thursday.

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

At last report, the storm was about 180 km east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina and about 270 km east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding in Virginia and the Carolinas.

"The idea of having to leave with my two cats and go somewhere for a week or more. once you leave, you don't know how many days it will be before you can return", a Wilmington resident named Kate tells VOA.

More than 24 hours after Florence caused major flooding in New Bern, N.C., the city announced that all people who needed rescuing had reached safety.

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland declared states of emergency.

The White House on Saturday said President Donald Trump had approved making federal funding available in some counties.

Hurricane Florence has only just begun to wreak havoc along the Carolina coastlines, but already people are capturing absolutely shocking footage of the storm surges from the category 2 hurricane.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Edisto Beach, SC, to South Santee River, SC.

Tropical Storm Isaac is forecast to approach the Lesser Antilles Islands on Thursday.

"These bays, these rivers and these inlets, there's so much storm surge the water is being literally forced to flow the opposite direction", Graham said. "So the potential impact from the surge has not changed because the system is weaker", he said.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the update said.

This alert is provided by Tropical Storm Risk (TSR). If the storm manages to keep its intensity as it travels inland through densely populated areas, Florence could potentially cause "considerable economic and insured losses".

By the time the storm leaves the region, forecasters expect that it will have dumped 50 to 70 cm of rain in coastal areas, with some parts possibly being inundated with up to 100 cm.

Torrential rains brought about significant flooding in some areas, with the rains expected to continue over Oahu through Thursday. Calls for help kept coming in as the wind picked up and the tide arrived, said city public information officer Colleen Roberts. It's moving westward across the eastern Caribbean, where it's expected to bring up to 5 inches of rain across Puerto Rico.

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