As Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall, Trump Tweets Support to First Responders

Pat Wise
September 15, 2018

By mid-afternoon the winds had dropped to 75 miles per hour (120 kph) and the centre was moving west at 6 miles per hour (10 kph), the NHC said, and parts of North and SC would get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 metre). And she has seen reports of people fleeing to rooftops to escape high floodwaters.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

Onslow County spokesman Cornelius Jordan said some visitors at the Triangle Motor Inn were able to drive away on their own, but emergency personnel had to take others to a safe location.

City officials in one North Carolina community sent out an ominous tweet sometime around 2 a.m. Friday.

Up to 1.7million residents on the eastern seaboard have been scrambling to evacuate their homes as government officials warned the hurricane would deliver a "Mike Tyson punch" to South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

Roy Cooper, the Governor of North Carolina, said surviving the storm would be a test of "endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

When Hurricane Florence started battering eastern North Carolina with record rainfall, the Neuse and Trent rivers began to swell - and combined with high tide, made for risky flooding and dramatic rescues.

Cheryl Browning, who lives with her husband and son in North Carolina, said they chose to stay put despite the warnings as they also have three dogs and three parrots.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm will eventually push westward and make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic region and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

The storm made landfall at Wrightsville Beach at 7:15 a.m., with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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New Bern is about 32 miles north of Morehead City, North Carolina , and 101 miles southeast of Raleigh. The county had been conducting water rescues since Thursday, Parker said.

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People across the region rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies, board up their homes or get out of town. Workers are being brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help in the storm's aftermath, it said.

More than 430,000 people in North and SC are without power, and water is rising along the coast, where people in some towns have experienced dramatic rescues due to the towering storm surge.

The Weather Channel used the high-tech graphic to place meteorologist Erika Navarro in a virtual street, with water levels rising steadily around her.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house.

Thousands of people hunkered down in schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem. More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

"We've rescued over 100 people in New Bern, N.C.; people from Jacksonville, N.C., had to rescued from a hotel", Cooper said, describing efforts to save people in towns north of Wilmington where high floods have already hit.

As of 1 p.m. ET, more than a foot of rain had fallen in many towns in southeastern North Carolina.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared previous year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000.

While Zone A is a mandatory evacuation zone, a city spokesperson said they would never force anyone to leave.

Hurricane-force winds now extend up to 80 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles from the center of the storm.

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