Mother and child killed as tree col­lapses on their house

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Hur­ri­cane Florence has killed a mother and child in North Carolina. The Wilmington Po­lice De­part­ment said the two were killed when a tree fell on their house. The fa­ther was trans­ported to a hos­pi­tal for treat­ment.

The hur­ri­cane came ashore early yes­ter­day, pound­ing the state with tor­ren­tial rain and high winds.

Fore­cast­ers have been pre­dict­ing cat­a­strophic flash flood­ing. The Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­tre in Mi­ami says more than 16 inches of rain have fallen at lo­ca­tions in south-east North Carolina and an­other 20 to 25 inches is on the way.

The hur­ri­cane has torn build­ings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and busi­nesses.

More than 60 peo­ple had to be pulled from a col­laps­ing mo­tel and hun­dreds more were res­cued else­where from ris­ing water.

“We are com­ing to get you,” the city of New Bern tweeted around 2am lo­cal time. “You may need to move up to the sec­ond story, or to your at­tic, but we are com­ing to get you.”

The gi­ant, 400-mile-wide hur­ri­cane un­loaded heavy rain, flat­tened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and busi­nesses.

Fore­cast­ers say the big­gest dan­ger is the water as the storm surge along the coast­line and the prospect of one to three­and-a-half feet of rain over the com­ing days could trig­ger cat­a­strophic flood­ing in­land.

By early af­ter­noon, Florence’s winds had weak­ened to 75mph, just barely a hur­ri­cane and well be­low the storm’s ter­ri­fy­ing cat­e­gory 4 peak of 140 mph ear­lier in the week.

But the hur­ri­cane had slowed to a crawl as it traced the North Carolina-South Carolina shore­line, drench­ing coastal com­mu­ni­ties for hours on end.

The town of Ori­en­tal had taken more than 18 inches of rain just a few hours into the del­uge, while Surf City had 14 inches and it was still com­ing down.

“Hur­ri­cane Florence is pow­er­ful, slow and re­lent­less,” North Carolina gover­nor Roy Cooper said. “It’s an un­in­vited brute who doesn’t want to leave.”

Mr Cooper said the hur­ri­cane was “wreak­ing havoc” on the coast and could wipe out en­tire com­mu­ni­ties. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges – the bulge of sea­wa­ter pushed ashore by the hur­ri­cane – as high as 10 feet.

Florence made land­fall as a cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane at 7.15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the South Carolina line, com­ing ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emp­tied-out stretch of coast­line.

If it pushes its way west­ward across South Carolina it could turn into a wa­tery siege that could go on all week­end.

For peo­ple liv­ing in­land in the Caroli­nas, the mo­ment of max­i­mum peril from flash flood­ing could ar­rive days later, be­cause it takes time for rain­wa­ter to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.

Prepar­ing for the worst, about 9,700 Na­tional Guard troops and civil­ians were de­ployed with high-water ve­hi­cles, he­li­copters and boats that could be used to pluck peo­ple from the flood­wa­ters.

Au­thor­i­ties warned, too, of the threat of mud­slides and the risk of en­vi­ron­men­tal havoc from flood­wa­ters wash­ing over in­dus­trial waste sites and hog farms.

Ron­ald Whit­mer and Brenda Whit­mer wait in an evac­u­a­tion shel­ter set up in Con­way and, right, Union Point Park in New Bern is un­der flood water

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