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The city of Wilmington in North Carolina has been cut off from the rest of the state because of heavy floods following Hurricane Florence.
According to officials, all roads in and out are now impassable and have warned evacuated residents to stay away.
About 400 people have been rescued from flood waters in Wilmington, described as an island within the state.
Two of the first known fatalities – a mother and her seven-month son – were reported in Wilmington on September 14.
At least 15 other people are reported to have died in storm-related incidents across North and South Carolina since storm Florence made landfall on September 13.
In Wilmington, with its population of about 120,000, some 400 people have had to be rescued from flood waters, and most of the city remains without power.
The National Weather Service has warned of at least two further days of possible flash flooding in the area before conditions are forecast to improve.
The area is usually best known as a filming location for
One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek.
Michael Jordan – who is fundraising to help residents affected by the storm – also grew up in the city.
Many roads inside Wilmington are still passable for residents who defied evacuation orders to ride the storm out.
However, a city-wide curfew has been extended after five people were arrested on suspicion of looting from a store in the city on September 15.
According to the National Hurricane Centre, Florence has now weakened into a tropical depression with winds of 35mph.
Some parts of the Carolinas have seen up to 40in of rain since September 13 – and officials have warned river levels are yet to peak in places.
The US coast guard and volunteer boats have been helping people left stricken by rising flood waters across the states.
Officials in North Carolina have said about 900 people have been rescued from floodwaters there, and about 15,000 people are still in emergency shelters.
President Donald Trump has declared a disaster in several North Carolina counties – a move that frees up federal funding for recovery efforts.
He has praised federal and local law enforcement response to the storm on Twitter several times and the White House has indicated he may visit the affected area in coming days.
Power companies are working to restore power to the almost 650,000 homes and businesses that are still without electricity.
The center of the storm is still over North Carolina but is expected to accelerate north before turning to head toward New England on September 18.
Eleven deaths were reported in North Carolina, and at least six have been reported in South Carolina.
Image source Wikipedia
Storm Florence is hitting North and South Carolina, and Virginia and weather forecasters warn of the risk of life-threatening flash flooding in parts of the states.
Florence has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but continues to soak the East Coast area with rain, downing trees and damaging homes.
It is slowly grinding over the eastern states, with winds of 65mph.
Five deaths have been linked to the storm and thousands of people have been staying in emergency shelters.
Evacuation warnings were issued for 1.7 million people in the region.
All five deaths linked to the storm are in North Carolina.
Florence originally made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday morning as a category one hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center said on September 14 that “catastrophic fresh water flooding” is expected in parts of both the Carolinas.
Some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges as high as 10ft in places.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the hurricane was likely to “continue its violent grind for days” and described the severity of the downfalls as a “1,000 year event”.
Florence is expected to dump 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on US soil, meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted.
Almost 800,000 people are reported to be without power already in North Carolina, and officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.
More than 20,000 residents have packed into North Carolina emergency shelters, and officials have told those still in the storm’s path to stay in place.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, officials had rescued more than 60 people overnight on September 13 from a hotel that was collapsing in the storm.
Parts of New Bern, North Carolina, which is home to 30,000 people, were 10ft underwater on September 14 after local rivers flooded their banks.
Scores of residents in the riverfront city were plucked to safety, local reports say.
Image source Wikipedia
The US East Coast is bracing for Hurricane Florence.
Evacuations have been ordered in what may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.
North Carolina and Virginia have declared states of emergency while South Carolina’s governor ordered the evacuation of its entire coastline.
According to officials, Florence is now a Category 5 storm with 130mph winds, and gaining strength.
Florence is expected to strike the Carolinas by September 13.
The storm – which was 1,200 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, on September 10 – started the day as a Category 2 storm.
The weather system could reach Category 5 as its draws strength from the warm Atlantic waters, say forecasters.
Florence would be the first Category 4 storm to hit the region since Hugo ravaged North Carolina in 1989, wreaking $7 billion in damage and claiming 49 lives.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says the hurricane has the makings of an “extremely dangerous” meteorological event.
It may bring catastrophic levels of rain and flooding to coastal and inland regions.
The NHC said:
“There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds.”
President Donald Trump has cancelled plans for a rally on September 14 in Mississippi because of the hurricane.
In North Carolina, there have been long queues in supermarkets around communities near waterways and coastlines as residents clear shelves of water, batteries and plywood.
Governor Roy Cooper waived agricultural transportation restrictions in order to allow farmers to move goods more quickly.
Red flag warnings are keeping swimmers off beaches, as residents sandbag their homes in the communities of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval installation in the world, is preparing to send ships away from bases to weather the storm out at sea.
Two other hurricanes are currently churning in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hurricanes Isaac and Helene are expected to accelerate, but at this point, are not expected to threaten the US mainland.