Florence turns deadly, triggers flash flood emergencies
Five deaths linked to the East Coast storm; US President declares disaster
A woman and her baby were killed when a tree fell on their house and several more storm-related deaths were reported on Friday as Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas, dousing the eastern US states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks.
Five deaths were confirmed by officials as US media reported another.
Hundreds of people needed to be rescued after becoming trapped in their homes by a storm surge of up to 10 feet in New Bern, a town in North Carolina at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers.
As of 8 pm (0000 GMT), Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), but authorities warned the danger was far from over, predicting “life-threatening storm surges and strong winds” would persist through the night.
“We are expecting several more days of rain,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said, describing the amount of rainfall from the hurricane as a “1,000-year event.” “Into next week our rivers are going to continue to rise and there will be more significant flooding,” Cooper said.
There had been five confirmed deaths from the storm and several others were being investigated to determine if they were storm-related, he said. Local authorities reported a death in Pender County when downed trees prevented emergency units from reaching a woman with a medical condition. Local media said she had suffered a heart attack.
“This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days,” Cooper said. “The storm is wreaking havoc on our state.” More than 7,60,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.
The White House said President Donald Trump was to visit hurricane-hit areas next week “once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts.”
Maximum sustained winds had weakened to 70 miles per hour, but the NHC warned Carolina residents to be alert for life-threatening storm surges and “catastrophic freshwater flooding.” “Flash flooding will be extreme and flood waters will come up quickly and seemingly out of nowhere,” the governor said.
US President Donald Trump has declared a disaster in North Carolina amid warnings the worst is far from over.
Typhoon Mangkhut lashed the northern Philippines on Saturday, with its powerful winds and rain setting off landslides and destroying homes, leaving at least 14 people dead and several missing, as the storm barrelled toward southern China.
The most powerful typhoon to hit the disaster-prone Philippines this year slammed ashore before dawn in Cagayan province on the northeastern tip of Luzon island, a breadbasket that is also a region of floodprone rice plains and mountain provinces with a history of deadly landslides.