“The storm is devastating our state. “North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper sounded the alarm on Friday, September 14, as Hurricane Florence began to hit the east coast of the United States.
“We are very concerned, entire communities could be destroyed (…). We face several threats,” continued the Governor, citing the rise of ocean waters and rivers swollen by the hurricane, combined with heavy rainfall. The hurricane caused its first deaths on Friday evening.
“A woman and her baby were killed when a tree fell on their house. The father was wounded” and hospitalized, police reported on Twitter. Another woman, who was ill, died because the aid could not reach her because of trees blocking the streets, according to a Pender County spokeswoman. She died of a heart attack, according to local media reports. A fourth person died Friday while electrocuting himself. The authorities also had to evacuate about 60 people to a hotel in Jacksonville whose roof had partially collapsed due to the wind.
Trump will visit the affected areas
Rains of this intensity come “only once every thousand years,” Roy Cooper said, indicating that the Neuse had reached three metres above its usual level and that other rivers would “rise for several days. An aggravating factor, Florence is advancing slowly at 6 km/h, and thus dumping its torrential rains for long hours on the same regions, where the soils are saturated with water after already two weeks of heavy rainfall.
U.S. President Donald Trump will visit the hurricane-affected areas next week, his spokesman Sarah Sanders announced on Friday.
“Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at[9:15 am], with maximum winds estimated at 150 km/h,” the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) announced in a tweet. Although he was downgraded to category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of five, the hurricane remains dangerous, the NHC warned. As the hurricane approached, 1.7 million people were ordered to take shelter away from the coast.
The hurricane’s impact was preceded by strong swirling winds that began to blow shortly after 5 a.m. local time (11 a.m. in Paris), sending waterfalls in all directions and flying debris and road signs. “This does not mark the end,” warned Jeff Byard, head of the U.S. Federal Emergency Assistance Agency (FEMA). “A significant threat will persist for another twenty-four to thirty-six hours,” he added, particularly because of the serious risk of flooding.
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