Matthew trig­gers se­vere flood­ing in NC, US death toll at 16

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

WILM­ING­TON, N.C. (AP): HUR­RI­CANE MATTHEW’S tor­ren­tial rains trig­gered se­vere flood­ing in North Carolina on Sun­day as the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing storm made its exit to the sea and thou­sands of peo­ple had to be res­cued from their homes and cars. The death toll in the United States climbed to at least 16, nearly half of them in North Carolina.

The storm, which killed more than 500 in Haiti be­fore it pounded the East Coast for days, was stripped of hur­ri­cane sta­tus just be­fore day­break, but the cri­sis – set off by down­pours of more than a foot – was far from over.

“As the sun rises in North Carolina and the blue sky re­turns, our state is fac­ing ma­jor de­struc­tion and, sadly, loss of life,” Gov­er­nor Pat McCrory said as the ef­fects of Satur­day’s del­uge be­came clearer at day­light.

Rivers and creeks over­flowed, driv­ing peo­ple from their homes and trap­ping oth­ers as much as 100 miles in­land. The unof­fi­cial rain­fall to­tals were stag­ger­ing: 18 inches in Wilm­ing­ton, 14 inches in Fayet­teville, and 8 inches in Raleigh.

McCrory said po­lice and emer­gency crews had made more than 880 wa­ter res­cues. In the Fayet­teville area alone, res­cue crews saved nearly 600 peo­ple from the rapidly ris­ing flood­wa­ters, of­fi­cials said.

The gov­er­nor said that four peo­ple were miss­ing in the Fayet­teville area and that the full scale of the dis­as­ter was not yet known be­cause the flood­ing con­tin­ued overnight and there were many places that search teams had not yet reached.

“There could be some back­roads where we had peo­ple swept away. I’m pray­ing that is not go­ing to be,” McCrory said.

Most of the deaths hap­pened when ve­hi­cles were swept away by flood­wa­ters.

About 100 guests and work­ers had to be evac­u­ated from a Com­fort Inn motel in the North Carolina coastal town of South­port after the hur­ri­cane cracked a wall and left the roof in dan­ger of col­lapse, au­thor­i­ties said. And dra­matic video showed Fayet­teville po­lice res­cu­ing a woman and her small child from their car as ris­ing waters swal­lowed it.

Shortly be­fore day­break, the hur­ri­cane was down­graded to a post-trop­i­cal cy­clone. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the storm was cen­tred about 100 miles east of Cape Hat­teras, North Carolina, mov­ing out to sea. It still had hur­ri­cane­force winds of 75 mph.

Fore­cast­ers said North Carolina and Vir­ginia could get even more rain and warned of the dan­ger of life-threat­en­ing flood­ing through Monday night. File Res­i­dents Ju­lia Schit­tko and Nathan Og­don walk along flooded Wa­ter Street in Wilm­ing­ton, North Carolina, yes­ter­day as Hur­ri­cane Matthew moved into the Caroli­nas.

“Stay home. Most of your or­dered to evac­u­ate their homes as church ser­vices have been Matthew closed in. By hug­ging can­celled. There’s no rea­son to go the coast, the storm be­haved out. Take the day off,” Fayet­teville pretty much as fore­cast­ers Mayor Nat Robert­son said. pre­dicted. A shift of just 20 or 30

Matthew killed more than 500 miles could have meant peo­ple in Haiti last week, plow­ing wide­spread dev­as­ta­tion. into the des­per­ately poor coun­try While Matthew’s wind speed at 145 mph. The fear­some storm had dropped con­sid­er­ably by the then sideswiped hun­dreds of miles time it hit the South­east coast, the of the US coast­line from Florida storm will rank as one of the most through Ge­or­gia and the pow­er­ful hur­ri­canes on record, Caroli­nas, its eye stay­ing far based on such fac­tors as wind enough offshore that the dam­age en­ergy and longevity, and as one in many places was rel­a­tively of the most long-lived ma­jor modest, con­sist­ing mostly of hur­ri­canes, too. flooded streets, flat­tened trees and Three-quar­ters of a mil­lion blown-down signs and awn­ings. peo­ple lost power in North

Up un­til Satur­day night and Carolina, ac­cord­ing to the Sun­day morn­ing, it ap­peared that gov­er­nor, along with a sim­i­lar the US might pull through without num­ber in South Carolina, the cat­a­strophic dam­age that 250,000 in Ge­or­gia, and about 1 fore­cast­ers said was pos­si­ble. mil­lion in Florida. Many peo­ple counted them­selves In ad­di­tion to the seven lucky. deaths in North Carolina, there

Along the main drag in were four in Florida, three in Day­tona Beach, Florida, the Ge­or­gia and two in South Sil­ver Diner had all of its shiny Carolina, where a 66-year-old me­tal sid­ing ripped off the front man was found out­side his and sides, leav­ing only a wood nurs­ing home in Columbia, frame ex­posed. Next door, the pinned be­neath his elec­tric win­dow of a sou­venir shop had wheel­chair and face-down in been blown out and the roof and stand­ing wa­ter from the rains, a ceil­ing torn through, leav­ing pink coro­ner said. Some peo­ple were in­su­la­tion dan­gling. killed by fall­ing trees, oth­ers by

David Beasley, pres­i­dent of car­bon monox­ide fumes from a In­surance Re­cov­ery Inc., sur­veyed gen­er­a­tor. the dam­age and said that al­though Prop­erty data firm it looked bad, the main strip was CoreLogic pro­jected that hit harder by Hur­ri­canes Charley in­sured losses on home and and Frances in 2004. com­mer­cial prop­er­ties would

“This is not much com­pared to amount to $4 bil­lion to $6 those two,” he said. bil­lion, well be­low Hur­ri­cane

An es­ti­mated two mil­lion Ka­t­rina’s $40 bil­lion and peo­ple in the South­east were Su­per­storm Sandy’s $20 bil­lion.

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