Florence Lands, Inches Inland Near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Hurricane Florence continued to batter North Carolina’s coast Friday afternoon with life-threatening flooding and damaging winds after making landfall at sunrise near Wrightsville Beach in the southeastern part of the state.
“The run rose this morning on an extremely dangerous situation, and it’s getting worse,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “The storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days and be a major inland event as well.”
The National Hurricane Center said Florence is now moving slowly inland in southeastern North Carolina with sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour and higher gusts. The storm is expected to continue on that path and begin lashing eastern South Carolina Friday night and Saturday. “Significant weakening is expected over the weekend and into early next week while Florence moves farther inland,” the center said Friday afternoon.
Florence had been downgraded to a Category One hurricane before landfall, but forecasters say it is still capable of delivering a lethal punch.
Officials said some half-million people were without electricity in North Carolina Friday morning and Duke Energy warned that up to 3 million customers could lose power over the next few days.
Ray Alexander of the Army Corps of Engineers said Friday “temporary power is probably job number one we anticipate.” He said, “specialized power planning response teams” are positioned in the Carolinas and in Virginia.
In Craven County, NC, authorities say they received more than 150 telephone calls to rescue people in the historic town of New Bern because water had entered their homes. Before sunrise, about 200 people had been rescued.
New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones. “The evacuation was county wide but since we’re not in a flood zone, we weren’t really worried about that,” she told VOA. We were worried about the hurricane, had it continued to be as strong as what they were originally stating.”
Regarding the possibility of a storm surge, Jones said “everyone has to be on the lookout for that, however, the way our house sits, it’s elevated. We have steps on the sides of the house so it’s a few feet off the ground anyway. And since we’re already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others.”
Officials have assured them they will be rescued by FEMA teams who are ready to do swift water rescue. Authorities have advised people, however, to move to higher levels in their homes while they wait to be rescued.
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence began battering the coast of North and South Carolina Thursday with strong winds and rain.
The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Florence had already brought a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina coast.
The center said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days. (VOA)