Science

At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

In this photo, resident Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approached Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington.

A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house", police tweeted Friday afternoon.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home.

The third death happened in Hampstead, Pender County when a woman had a medical emergency and EMS crews could not get to her due to the storm, according to Tom Collins, Director of Emergency Management.

Forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and SC with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding. On the morning of September 14, the National Hurricane Centre warned that "catastrophic" flooding and "life-threatening" storm surges were expected to spread inland.

A downed tree blocks a street in Wilmington after being uprooted by Florence's strong winds.

With the center of the storm still at sea early Friday, scores of residents had to be rescued from homes and the tops of cars in New Bern, North Carolina. This is a perilous moment for the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the roads to escape the storm's fury.

As of 1 p.m. EDT, Florence is weakening as it moves farther inland over southeastern North Carolina.

An 81-year-old man fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate Wayne County, NC on Friday, according to a release from the NC State Emergency Response team.

Some 11,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina.

The storm surge has already put some communities underwater. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks.

As of Friday, the casino had reserved over 600 room nights for storm victims; another 200 families were expected to arrive on Sunday.

The storm's centre was about 180km east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 2pm local time (18:00 GMT) but tropical storm-strength winds and heavy rains already were hitting North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a drenching that could go on all weekend.

Florence was one of two major storms on Friday. "Of course, I live in New Bern, I'm a property owner here, I have friends that live here and have property here, work here, and it's devastating to see our attractive community and parts of it underwater, and to even worry about my own home".

Tropical Storm Isaac became Tropical Depression Isaac Friday morning.

"I about jumped out of my skin", he said in a phone interview Friday morning.

As it moves near OH and West Virginia, it will become a remnant low.


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