Science

Florence hovers over coastal states, raising fears of epic flooding

Florence hovers over coastal states, raising fears of epic flooding”

As it made landfall on the USA southeast coast on Friday, Florence buckled buildings, flooded entire communities and left more than 900,000 homes and businesses without power.

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Governor Roy Cooper said.

The 400-mile-wide storm is expected to continue wreaking havoc in North Carolina and elsewhere throughout this weekend.

Officials said three people also died in separate, weather-related traffic accidents in SC.

With flood waters advancing rapidly in many communities, around 50 stranded people had been airlifted out by helicopter in North Carolina, said Petty Officer Michael Himes of the US Coast Guard. If the river gets higher than 26 feet, "all bets are off", city public works deputy director Corey Walters said. The Transportation Department is strongly recommending that residents find high ground and remain there until the risk of flooding has decreased.

Seven buoy-tending cutters have been directed to North Carolina to survey and open the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City as well as the North Carolina ferry system.

In Wilmington, with roads leading in and out of the city underwater and streams still swelling upward, residents waited for hours outside stores and restaurants for basic necessities like water. But so far officials said the state's many lagoons of toxic waste had withstood the storm.

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Florence's top sustained winds have weakened to 50mph (80km/h) but it is projected to bring further catastrophic flash flooding. It said it was located about 60 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and forecasters predicted a slow westward march.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia. Fort Bragg, a sprawling U.S. Army base, is just west of Fayetteville.

US President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina as officials warn the state could experience its most severe flooding ever. Storm conditions could also lead to tornadoes and landslides, officials said.

A 61-year-old woman was killed late Friday when the vehicle she was driving struck a tree that had fallen across Highway 18 near the town of Union.

United States east coast communities face "epic amounts of rainfall" from tropical storm Florence, which has been linked to at least 11 deaths.

Some cities in the Carolinas have received 30 inches of rain, Ken Graham, the head of the National Hurricane Center told The New York Times.

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Forecasters said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and then swing to the northeast, its remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by mid-week. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

"We didn't know where to go", she said.

Protected: More than 20,000 people in shelters in North Carolina, 6,400 in SC and 400 in Virginia.

Tens of thousands of people evacuated from risky areas.

Their homes are still damaged from Matthew, but they survived, members of the family said.

Jennifer Morales, 20, was one of those evacuated from her home with her husband and son, who turns 2 next month.

Florence and Mangkhut roared ashore the same day, half a world apart, but the way they spread devastation was as different as water and wind. "So yeah, not safe", Ochoa said. Trump plans a visit to the region next week.

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