Hurricane Florence Leaves Over Half a Million in the Dark

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump stands by tweets questioning Puerto Rico death toll: "NO WAY" Trump pushes back on ex-lawyer putting out book, cites "attorney-client privilege" Wealthiest Republican supporter in OH quits party MORE plans to travel to areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week once conditions improve and his visit won't disrupt recovery efforts, the White House said Friday. Beside inundating the coast with wind-driven storm, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches (51-76 cm) of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center predicts. "We're deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away". North of the landfall, another 150 people near the town of New Bern required rescue from floods along the Neuse River.

Tropical storm Florence lumbered inland on Saturday, knocking down trees, flooding rivers, and dumping sheets of rain in the Carolinas where five people have died.

The city had to suspend rescue operations as conditions worsened, but promised trapped residents in a tweet: "We are coming to get you".

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says that as the hurricane hit the coast overnight, officers "responded to 108 calls for service and 30 collisions".

Nearly 20,000 people had taken refuge in 157 emergency shelters, Mr Cooper said.

Hurricane Florence made landfall this morning near Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina, causing huge storm surges, heavy winds, strong winds, and intense flooding.

The NHC described Florence as a "slow mover" and said it had the potential to dump historic amounts of rain on North and SC, as much as one metre in some places.

Not everyone was taking Florence too seriously: About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

Besides federal and state emergency crews, rescuers were being helped by volunteers from the so-called "Cajun Navy" who also turned up in Houston during Hurricane Harvey to carry out water rescues.

Outlaw said at least 4,200 homes and 300 businesses in New Bern have sustained damage from flooding or trees. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham told The Associated Press.

The hurricane is now centered about 220 miles (354km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and 170 miles to the south-east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Many counties in southern North Carolina remain under a tornado watch until 7 a.m. "But there are a lot of big trees around, so we prefer to spend the night at a friend's to be sure", he said. "It came in slowly but then it just steady, just kept rising", Annazette Riley-Cromartie said.

Still, she said, "I think we're going to stay put", noting her neighborhood's past success in avoiding power outages and flooding.

North Carolina utilities estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said.

"Stay in place. People are still being rescued in coastal North Carolina".

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