TROP­I­CAL STORM FLORENCE Sto­ries from those liv­ing through storm

Some left their homes, while oth­ers rode out Florence in the at­tic

Tulsa World - - Datelines - ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mil­lions of peo­ple re­mained in the path of Florence as the pow­er­ful storm crawled in­land Satur­day, dump­ing heavy rain and threat­en­ing cat­a­strophic in­un­da­tions around the Caroli­nas. Here are snap­shots of peo­ple strug­gling to cope with the rem­nants of the hur­ri­cane:

Keep­ing an eye on the creek

Trop­i­cal Storm Florence has Michael John­son keep­ing a close eye on the creek that flooded his apart­ment in Columbia, South Carolina, al­most three years ago.

Rain fell steadily across Columbia on Satur­day as the slow­mov­ing storm crawled west­ward to­ward South Carolina's cap­i­tal city. Fore­cast­ers warned that Florence's big­gest in­land threat was the flood­ing brought on by all the rain.

John­son said knee-deep wa­ter from Gills Creek be­hind his ground-floor apart­ment swamped the build­ing and sev­eral oth­ers in his com­plex in Oc­to­ber 2015 when a dis­tant hur­ri­cane trig­gered dev­as­tat­ing floods in the Caroli­nas even as it by­passed the East Coast. Many res­i­dents had to be res­cued by boat then.

John­son kept look­ing out his apart­ment's slid­ing glass door Satur­day. His wife had worked an overnight shift at a lo­cal Waf­fle House, and now they watched with bags packed, ready to evac­u­ate with their dog at the first sign of any flood­ing.

Said John­son: “As soon as I see some wa­ter rise down there, I'm gone.”

Flee­ing the Cape Fear River

Sandra Rivera was at her job at Sears in Fayet­teville, North Carolina, on Satur­day when her hus­band called and said he was pick­ing her up right away.

A pa­trol car had cir­cled their Fayet­teville sub­di­vi­sion an­nounc­ing over the loud­speaker that they were un­der a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion or­der as the Cape Fear River con­tin­ued to swell from Florence's pelt­ing rains.

She rushed home and started pack­ing the car with clothes, es­sen­tials and their three dogs. They hauled their valu­ables to the sec­ond floor and were pre­par­ing to take off to stay with friends for sev­eral days. She doesn't know what she'll come back home to. But, she said, her hus­band and two chil­dren will be out of dan­ger, and that's what mat­ters.

“What­ever is go­ing to hap­pen will hap­pen,” she said. “It's na­ture. I can't con­trol it.”

Trapped in the at­tic

Sev­enty-one-year-old Pa­tri­cia Dixon and her hus­band, Gra­ham Dixon, 73, re­turned to their home near New Bern on Satur­day af­ter be­ing trapped in the at­tic for about 17 hours as Florence flooded their home and their neigh­bor­hood ear­lier this week.

The winds pushed river wa­ter into a lake that usu­ally laps against their back yard, some­thing that had never hap­pened be­fore. The flood­wa­ters swept into their ranch house un­til it was 3 feet deep on the first floor, built above ground level. The cou­ple grabbed dry clothes, food, wa­ter and their dog and climbed into their at­tic as the winds howled, wor­ried that they could be trapped there, Pa­tri­cia Dixon said.

“I'll tell you,” she said, “when we were up in that at­tic and that wind started com­ing, I never prayed so hard in all my life. I swear I was do­ing non­stop pray­ing, be­cause that wind was boom­ing, crash­ing. And I thought, `Oh, God! If this roof goes, we're gone.'”

The cou­ple had put a new roof on the house a month ago.

The wa­ter rose about 6 inches an hour un­til it stopped. Then it be­gan re­ced­ing and fire­fight­ers came in a truck to take the Dixons out Fri­day af­ter­noon, Gra­ham Dixon said.

Home again

Across the Trent River from New Bern, North Carolina, Jerry and Jan An­drews re­turned Satur­day to the home res­cuers had helped them aban­don only a day ear­lier. They came back to col­lect dry clothes and size up the mess left af­ter wind-driven wa­ter flooded their home with about a foot of wa­ter.

It was the first time the lake be­hind their home had over­flowed since the cou­ple built the house 28 years ago. Wa­ter pushed up by Hur­ri­cane Florence came in from a creek about a mile away that flows to the Neuse River, said Jerry An­drews, 67.

The cou­ple and their daugh­ter called 911 for help late Thurs­day when the flood­wa­ters crept in­side, he said. A high­axle truck and its crew made it to them Fri­day af­ter­noon.

By Satur­day, a fish­ing boat on a trailer that washed over from two yards away rested on the rear prop­erty line. The fam­ily's sedan, pickup and SUV were all parked on the front lawn and are likely to­tal losses af­ter wa­ter rose above their axles, Jerry An­drews said.

And down be­low the stairs to the back porch, a clus­ter of carp flopped about in the back­yard af­ter be­ing brought in by the del­uge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.