Hur­ri­cane death toll rises as deadly floods loom

The West Australian - - WORLD -

As the death toll from hur­ri­cane Florence mounted and hun­dreds of peo­ple were pulled from flooded homes, North Carolina was brac­ing for what could be the next stage of a still un­fold­ing disas­ter — wide­spread, cat­a­strophic river flood­ing.

Af­ter blow­ing ashore as a hur­ri­cane with 145km/h winds, Florence vir­tu­ally parked it­self much of the week­end atop the Caroli­nas as it pulled warm wa­ter from the ocean and hurled it on­shore. Storm surges, flash floods and winds scat­tered de­struc­tion widely and US Marines, Coast Guard, civil­ian crews and vol­un­teers used he­li­copters, boats and heavy-duty ve­hi­cles to carry out res­cues on Satur­day.

The death toll from the hur­ri­cane, which turned into a trop­i­cal storm, stood at 11 yes­ter­day. The dead in­cluded a mother and her baby killed by a fall­ing tree in Wilm­ing­ton, North Carolina.

South Carolina recorded its first death from the storm, with of­fi­cials say­ing a 61-year-old woman was killed when her car hit a tree that fell across a high­way. Three died in one in­land county, Du­plin, be­cause of wa­ter on roads and flash floods, au­thor­i­ties said.

A man and his wife died in a storm-linked house fire, of­fi­cials said, and an 81-year-old man died af­ter fall­ing while pack­ing to evac­u­ate.

Rivers are swelling to­wards record lev­els, fore­cast­ers warn, and thou­sands of peo­ple have been or­dered to evac­u­ate for fear that the next few days could bring the most destruc­tive flood­ing in North Carolina his­tory.

Stream gauges across the re­gion showed wa­ter lev­els ris­ing steadily, with fore­casts that rivers will crest by to­day at or near record lev­els.

Pic­tures: Getty Im­ages, AP

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