Rain still in the fore­cast from Florence

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NATION+WORLD - By Jennifer Kay

MI­AMI » How do you mea­sure a dis­as­ter like Florence? In sum, the storm is turn­ing out to be ev­ery bit as dev­as­tat­ing as fore­cast­ers ex­pected, and it’s far from done, with tril­lions of gal­lons of rain in the fore­cast, hun­dreds of peo­ple need­ing res­cue, nearly a mil­lion power out­ages and sev­eral deaths. Thou­sands of peo­ple have been told they still faced “im­mi­nent dan­ger” from flood­ing. The eco­nomic toll re­mains to be tal­lied.


—Storm deaths: At least 11 peo­ple have died

—Heavy rains: Up to 18 tril­lion gal­lons (68 tril­lion liters) fall­ing on seven states over seven days, as much wa­ter as there is the en­tire Ch­e­sa­peake Bay

—So far: Nearly 31 inches (79 cen­time­ters) of rain was re­ported in Swans­boro, on the North Carolina coast, and fore­cast­ers Satur­day ex­pected an­other 15 inches (nearly 40 cen­time­ters) in parts of the Caroli­nas.

—In the dark: About 900,000 out­ages as of Satur­day morn­ing, mostly in North Carolina

—Pro­tected: More than 20,000 peo­ple in shel­ters in North Carolina, 6,400 in South Carolina and 400 in Vir­ginia

—Grounded: More than 2,400 flights canceled

—Po­ten­tial losses: es­ti­mated $10 bil­lion to $60 bil­lion in eco­nomic dam­ages

—Res­cued: more than 500 peo­ple needed help in high wa­ters in New Bern and Jack­sonville, North Carolina


Images cap­tured by As­so­ci­ated Press jour­nal­ists show flooded streets, up­rooted trees, stranded res­i­dents and re­cov­ery crews in the af­ter­maths of Hur­ri­cane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut.


In North Carolina, a mother and in­fant died when a tree fell on their house, a 78-year-old man was elec­tro­cuted while plug­ging in a gen­er­a­tor in the rain, a 77-year-old man died af­ter be­ing blown to the ground while check­ing on his hunt­ing dogs, and a sher­iff’s of­fice said three peo­ple died be­cause of “flash flood­ing and swift wa­ter on road­ways.”. In South Carolina , a 61-year-old woman was killed when her ve­hi­cle hit a tree that had fallen across a high­way.


Thou­sands of peo­ple liv­ing within a mile (1.5 kilo­me­ters) of the banks of North Carolina’s Cape Fear River and Lit­tle River were or­dered Satur­day to evac­u­ate be­cause they faced “im­mi­nent dan­ger” from flood­ing as river basins filled be­yond their ca­pac­ity. The evac­u­a­tion zone in­cluded part of the city of Fayet­teville, with a pop­u­la­tion of 200,000.


Florence is test­ing the faith of peo­ple in the Bi­ble Belt town of Lum­ber­ton, South Carolina , where peo­ple had to be res­cued from rooftops af­ter flood­ing caused by Hur­ri­cane Matthew two years ago. Lum­ber­ton’s man­u­fac­tur­ing-based econ­omy was with­er­ing for years be­fore that, and lo­cal news­pa­per ed­i­tor Donnie Douglas says he doesn’t know how much more suf­fer­ing the trau­ma­tized res­i­dents can take.


Dozens of pol­luted in­dus­trial sites, chem­i­cal plants, coastal ship­yards and mil­i­tary bases are in Florence’s path, along with scores of low-ly­ing wa­ter and sewage treat­ment plants at risk of flood­ing. En­vi­ron­men­tal groups are wor­ried hog la­goons and coal ash dumps that could con­tam­i­nate soils or rivers used as sources for drink­ing wa­ter.


Long be­fore Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tossed pa­per tow­els to storm-stricken Puerto Ri­cans and de­nied Hur­ri­cane Maria’s re­ported death toll, his pre­de­ces­sors some­times strug­gled to steer the na­tion through life-and-death emer­gen­cies. The As­so­ci­ated Press has fact checked some of the claims Trump made about Maria and the econ­omy this week. Trump will travel next week to ar­eas hit by Florence.


Re­porters for The As­so­ci­ated Press, the news site Quartz and Puerto Rico’s Cen­ter for In­ves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ism have com­piled the most de­tailed por­trait yet of the ag­o­niz­ing fi­nal days of vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Maria , in­ter­view­ing 204 fam­i­lies of the dead and re­view­ing ac­counts of 283 more to tell the sto­ries of hereto­fore anony­mous vic­tims.


The 470-mile (750-kilome­ter) Blue Ridge Park­way that winds through the Ap­palachi­ans in Vir­ginia and North Carolina closed at 8 p.m. Fri­day to ve­hi­cles, cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans un­til fur­ther no­tice be­cause of ex­pected high winds and heavy rains. Hik­ers have been told to seek shel­ter off the Ap­palachian Trail to avoid fall­ing trees, flash floods and mud­slides.


Tor­ren­tial rains from Florence will test South Carolina’s in­fra­struc­ture , which failed un­der nearly 2 feet (60 cen­time­ters) of rain in 2015. A year later, flood­ing from Hur­ri­cane Matthew caused about 25 dams to fail. More than 3,000 main­te­nance work­ers are on standby statewide to fix bro­ken traf­fic sig­nals, bar­ri­cade prob­lem ar­eas and make roads safe again.


Bas­ket­ball great Michael Jor­dan, who grew up in North Carolina and owns the NBA’s Char­lotte Hor­nets, and new Carolina Pan­thers owner David Tep­per are pro­vid­ing re­lief to those af­fected by Florence. Jor­dan said it’s “dev­as­tat­ing” to see the dam­age, and his or­ga­ni­za­tion and the NBA are “here to help.” In a tweet , Tep­per said the Pan­thers are work­ing with char­i­ties to de­velop a re­sponse plan.


A fam­ily res­cued from their New Jer­sey home by boat dur­ing Su­per­storm Sandy in 2012 is wait­ing to find out whether Florence took their new one in North Carolina. Rather than re­build in Union Beach, New Jer­sey, the Liebelt fam­ily de­cided to start over in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Tail­gaters only had one choice for a col­lege foot­ball game Satur­day in the Caroli­nas and Vir­ginia. No. 2 Clem­son and Ge­or­gia South­ern got a sunny sky in Clem­son, South Carolina, while ev­ery other ma­jor school in the re­gion called off or re­lo­cated games be­cause of Florence.

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