Storm toll 13 as Carolinas brace for river flooding

Homes wrecked : Cars and homes are surrounded by floodwaters in New Bern, North Carolina.

Homes wrecked : Cars and homes are surrounded by floodwaters in New Bern, North Carolina.   | Photo Credit: VICTOR J. BLUE

Rivers are expected to crest on Monday at record levels

As the death toll from Florence grew and hundreds of people were pulled from flooded homes, North Carolina braced for catastrophic, widespread river flooding that could be the next stage of a mounting disaster.

Weakened to a tropical depression early on Sunday after blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph (145 kmph) winds on Friday, Florence was still spinning slowly atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore.

The storm’s death toll climbed to 13 when authorities said two people died from inhaling carbon monoxide from a generator in their South Carolina home.

Homes without power

About 7,40,000 homes and businesses remained without power in the Carolinas, and utilities said some could be out for weeks.

Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six States, but North and South Carolina were in the bull’s-eye. The head of Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said officials were still focused on finding and rescuing people. “We’ll get through this. It’ll be ugly, but we’ll get through it,” Mr. Long told NBC’s “Meet The Press”.

Rivers swelled toward record levels, forecasters said, and thousands of people were ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels.

Florence weakened to a tropical depression early on Sunday and was crawling west at 8 mph (13 kmph). At 5 a.m., the storm was centred about 20 miles (35 kms) southwest of Columbia, South Carolina. Its winds were down to 35 mph (55 kmph).

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 5:36:05 AM |

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