Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

First deaths reported from Hurricane Florence after Wilmington home collapses

First deaths reported from Hurricane Florence after Wilmington home collapses

As Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on the North Carolina coast, bringing sustained winds of 68 miles per hour and a flooding storm surge, at least three other named storms are still churning in the Atlantic.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. The storm is threatening catastrophic flooding while leaving scores in need of rescue from rising waters and hundreds of thousands without power. Some parts of New Bern could be flooded with a possible 9-foot storm surge as the Category 2 hurricane approaches the United States.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.

Winds have dropped to about 144km/h but North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the worst of the storm was yet to come.

"And when the tide comes back up around noon, we will be inundated with additional storm surge", she said.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the country's Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Currently, South Carolina has 61 shelters in place and almost 5,000 residents who have sought shelter.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

Maysie Baumgardner, 7, and her family sheltered at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington as Florence filled the streets with floodwaters. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center while tropical storm-force winds extend 195 miles.

Hurricane Florence, the vast storm meteorologists and astronauts alike have been tracking, made landfall this morning (Sept. 14) near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

- Authorities in the coastal city of New Bern were working with federal responders to rescue at least 150 residents who reported themselves stranded in Hurricane Florence's storm surge.

Amber Parker, spokesperson for Craven County, North Carolina, tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that officials are happy to have daylight on their side Friday.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

The highest numbers are being reported in New Hanover County. "To those in the storm's path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place".

Jason O. Boyd, the station's digital media manager, posted on the official Twitter account shortly after midnight to say that everyone got out safely.

More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival. "This could be enough to knock you off your feet", says Navarro.

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