Hurricane Florence Is Dumping a Huge Amount of Rain on the Carolinas

Volunteer Amber Hersel from the Civilian Crisis Response Team helps rescue 7-year-old Keiyana Cromartie and her family from their flooded home

Volunteer Amber Hersel from the Civilian Crisis Response Team helps rescue 7-year-old Keiyana Cromartie and her family from their flooded home

In New Bern, North Carolina, a historic city founded in the early 1700s at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers., the storm surge overwhelmed its 30,000 residents.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned that life-threatening storm surges - in which water is pushed by a storm over land that would normally be dry - catastrophic freshwater flooding were still expected.

At the time, the storm carried winds of about 90 miles per hour (145 km/h), making it a Category 1 storm, but that ranking belies the hurricane's massive clouds and the downpour it is visiting on the coastline, with some areas already drenched in 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). FEMA officials wrote on Twitter people should not focus on the category of the storm - as of Thursday morning, Hurricane Florence was a Category 2 storm, indicating slower wind speeds - but rather should pay attention to the fact there will be extreme flooding in the Carolinas as a result.

At 90 miles per hour, its wind speed was dipping but still unsafe.

Some of the worst flooding was in New Bern, where authorities were enforcing a curfew.

While many sought shelter - about 26,000 people took refuge in 100 shelters and at the 14,000-seat Joel Colisseum in Winston-Salem - others ignored warnings or headed to nearby hotels.

"We've got nearly 20,000 people in 157 shelters", Cooper said.

Forecasters say the center of the eye of Florence has made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States.

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More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

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A city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been plucked to safety. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, 'The time to prepare is nearly over.

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence began battering the coast of North and South Carolina Thursday with strong winds and rain.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion litres), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimetres).

The powerful storm inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power.

"(Its) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and fears splintering trees will pummel her house.

More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate.

Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.

"In an effort to proactively aid our customers, we are launching a community donation program, together with the Southeastern Grocers Gives Foundation, in support of the American Red Cross Disaster Relief to assist those impacted by Hurricane Florence", Anthony Hucker, president and CEO of Jacksonville, Fla. -based Southeastern Grocers, said in a statement on Friday. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, ” he said. “This is a 500- or 1,000-year event. ”Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said".

Both deaths were reported to the State Medical Examiner's Office by the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office.

More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.

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