‘It’s like a bomb went off’: US braces for flash floods as Hurricane Florence hits land (VIDEO)
Army units have been put on standby and relief crews have moved to rescue residents stranded by the rising waters. Authorities are rushing to restore electricity to 80,000 people believed to be without power.
New Bern resident George Zaytoun described how he regretted not leaving the North Carolina coastal city as floodwater rose to 15ft overnight, before receding to around six to eight feet.
“It's like a bomb has gone off here,” he told Good Morning America. “Everything around us is underwater.”
I think this speaks for itself. Union point in New Bern, North Carolina. pic.twitter.com/1LxtrdCJgY— Mark Sudduth (@hurricanetrack) September 13, 2018
Later downgraded to a tropical storm, Florence still poses a risk to residents in the Carolinas, with the National Hurricane Center warning of “catastrophic freshwater flooding” over the weekend with some areas already seeing surges of water as high as 10ft after rivers burst their banks.
A FEMA statement on Saturday said heavy rains and 3ft storm surges were still expected with rivers expected to stay in the flood stage for some time.
Flash flooding, storm surge have been immediate concerns of #HurricaneFlorence; however, #Florence's heavy rains also bring concern of major river flooding. In coming days forecasts indicate rivers cresting in some cases higher than during Hurricane #MatthewNC. #ReadyNC#ncwxpic.twitter.com/qihfzLn9tI— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) September 15, 2018
The turbulent weather is expected to grind on for days with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper describing the Hurricane’s ferocity as a “1,000-year event.”
Accompanying a video of the tropical squalls that have been consistently battering Virginia and the Carolinas since Friday, veteran Weather Channel meteorologist and reporter Mike Seidel said he had never seen wind and rain to that extent in his entire career.
“Nearly 70 tropical storms and hurricanes and I've never seen this magnitude of wind and rain last this long” he tweeted.
Yet another #Florence tropical squall is slamming us at the intracoastal in Wilmington, NC. We've been in these on and off for 24 hours! Nearly 70 tropical storms and hurricanes and I've never seen this magnitude of wind and rain last this long. pic.twitter.com/D4Rq7EM1xU— Mike Seidel (@mikeseidel) September 15, 2018
Footage of the storm posted on social media shows just how dangerous it has become, with one showing rising flood water moving up the side of a house.
Hurricane Florence in North Carolina pic.twitter.com/FkJKeA0vna— Earth (@VistaEarth) September 15, 2018
Meanwhile, powerful winds made light work of trees and infrastructure, and was even capable of disassembling gas stations in minutes. Some 800,000 people are now believed to be without power or electricity.
Hurricane Florence has not been kind to me.. pic.twitter.com/10g8LmsCvk— Brett (@BKTrey8) September 15, 2018
The storm related death toll rose to 11 people on Saturday, after a previously unknown incidents from Friday were reported. Ten victims were from North Carolina, including a mother and an infant who were killed by a tree that crashed into their home in Wilmington, where gusting winds reached the speed of 70 mph. Three people have died “due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways,” in Dupilin County, North Carolina, after their cars were washed away as water surged on Saturday. In South Carolina, a person was killed while driving a vehicle when it bumped into a fallen tree on Friday night.
People have already started their rescue efforts with the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based volunteer force of private boat owners formed after Hurricane Katrina, sent to rescue citizens and canines stranded by the flooding.
The Cajun Navy Rescue Two Dogs Stranded on a Porch Home Alone in The Rising Floodwaters in Jacksonville, North Carolina.— ~Marietta️ (@MariettaPosts) September 14, 2018
All Safe Now!
Thank You To All The Volunteers Of The Cajun Navy! Much Love. 💕#HurricaneFlorence#CajunNavypic.twitter.com/yRS25RyOU7
Forces from the US Army, National Guard, and Army Reserves are also in “ready mode” to provide hurricane relief support to FEMA and other state and federal agencies feeling the effects of the hurricane.
Despite the chaos, there have been moments of levity. One resident, perhaps more concerned over his water bill than the wind and rain bearing down on him, took the opportunity to avail of a discounted power wash.
Florida native Lane Pittman actually traveled to South Carolina to face down the storm in his own distinct way.
“Just being free and American, man. I don't let nothing oppress me. Especially no doggone freakin' hurricanes,” he told a curious reporter.
When asked why he traveled to Myrtle Beach to headbang, Pittman jokingly says: "Just being free and American, man. I don't let nothing oppress me. Especially no doggone freakin' hurricanes." pic.twitter.com/vjQXJ20XiX— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) September 14, 2018
Like this story? Share it with a friend!