Florence weak­ens but epic rains still ex­pected

The Star Malaysia - - World -

WIL­SON ( North Carolina): Trop­i­cal Storm Florence was likely to weaken as it swept through the Caroli­nas but dozens of com­mu­ni­ties are dev­as­tated and “epic” amounts of rain could still fall, of­fi­cials said.

The storm is ex­pected to be­come a Trop­i­cal De­pres­sion as it trudged in­land, knock­ing out power and caus­ing at least eight deaths as flood wa­ters kept ris­ing.

North Carolina of­fi­cials have re­ported at least seven storm-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties with un­con­firmed re­ports of a fur­ther three deaths.

South Carolina au­thor­i­ties re­ported one death. “This is still a cat­a­strophic, life threat­en­ing storm,” said Zack Tay­lor, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the Na­tional Weather Cen­ter’s Weather Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter in Col­lege Park, Mary­land.

Winds have dropped to about 65 kph since it roared ashore along the US mid-At­lantic coast on Fri­day as a hur­ri­cane and it is crawl­ing west over two states at 9 kph, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter in Mi­ami said yes­ter­day.

Tay­lor said the storm al­ready dumped 30 inches (76.2cm) of rain on some parts of the North Carolina.

“This storm is still deadly and dan­ger­ous and it’s ex­pected to turn north­ward later to­day into Vir­ginia and the mid-At­lantic,” he said yes­ter­day.

North Carolina Gover­nor Roy Cooper said: “This sys­tem is un­load­ing epic amounts of rain­fall, in some places mea­sured in feet and not inches.”

Rivers will con­tinue to rise days af­ter the rain has stopped, he said.

Around 50 stranded peo­ple were air­lifted by he­li­copter in North Carolina, said Petty Of­fi­cer Michael Himes of the US Coast Guard. More than 26,000 hun­kered down in shel­ters. Roads were closed and au­thor­i­ties warned of land­slides, tor­na­does and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled.

As of Satur­day, about 676,000 homes and busi­nesses were with­out power in North Carolina,

along with 119,000 in South Carolina

The White House said Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ap­proved mak­ing fed­eral fund­ing avail­able in some af­fected coun­ties

Trump, who plans to visit the re­gion next week and he tweeted his “deep­est sym­pa­thies and warmth” to the fam­i­lies and friends of those who had lost their lives

Florence was drift­ing west­ward over South Carolina, reach­ing about 40km south­east of Columbia South Carolina at yes­ter­day morn­ing, the NHC said.

In Fayette eville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 peo­ple, au­thor­i­ties told thou­sands of res­i­dents near the Cape Fear River and Lit­tle River to get out of their homes be­cause of the flood risk.

“If you are re­fus­ing to leave dur­ing this manda­tory evac­u­a­tion, you need to do things like no­tify your le­gal next of kin be­cause the loss of life is very, very pos­si­ble,” Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news con­fer­ence.

— Reuters

Ris­ing dan­gers: Flood wa­ters lap­ping at a high wa­ter warn­ing sign that was par­tially pushed over by Hur­ri­cane Florence on Oak Is­land, North Carolina.

— Agen­cies

Tak­ing a beat­ing: (From top, clock­wise): A Hong Kong fire­man help­ing a child cross a flooded street at the vil­lage of Lei Yu Mun.A gi­ant wave strik­ing the coast in Hong Kong. Res­i­dents in Shen­zhen, China, stock­ing up on bot­tled wa­ter at a su­per­mar­ket in prepa­ra­tion for Typhoon Mangkhut. A woman strug­gling with her um­brella in Shen­zhen.

— Bloomberg

On the job: Res­cue work­ers stand­ing with a search dog as they pre­pare to con­tinue res­cue ef­forts af­ter Hur­ri­cane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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