Race to rescue people stranded in United States hurricane


The outages were announced just after 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 as the eye of Hurricane Florence wobbled slowly southwestward just off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, near the border with SC.

TRINIS living in the U.S. were vigorously preparing themselves for Hurricane Florence which is forecast to make landfall along the eastern coast sometime today.

Trini-born United States citizen Marion Williams said in Baltimore Maryland, there has been intermittent rain for the past four to five days.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence was forecast to keep moving farther inland across the Carolinas through the weekend before turning toward the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

It has trapped people in flooded homes as citizen swift-water rescue teams from out of state join local emergency professionals around the clock to try and bring them to safety.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90 miles per hour by nightfall. "Everybody laughs at the fact that this storm got downgraded. but I've never seen tree devastation this bad. We are not directly affected here", Williams said.

Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it is unclear how many did. The three-day record for Wilmington is 19.66 inches set in 2010.

Officials said they were most concerned about torrential rainfall and flooding as high tide approaches.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

The Cape Fear River, which runs along downtown's western edge, churned with whitecaps.

Still, she said, "I think we're going to stay put", noting her neighborhood's past success in avoiding power outages and flooding. We probably will be getting heavy winds and rain for the next few days.

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Anxiety also reigned Saturday in Lumberton, a North Carolina city that was submerged for days after 2016's Hurricane Matthew.

The city installed 11 pumps to help deal with the river, but Mayor John Cantey said he wants people living near it to get out.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

More than 60 people were trapped in a collapsing hotel in North Carolina. The department, which did not release their names, said that the father of the child was transported to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center with injuries.

Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming his front porch.

Two men were also killed in Lenoir County, North Carolina. At least 150 people were waiting to be saved, city officials said.

In South Carolina's Union County, a 61-year-old woman was killed Friday night when the auto she was driving struck a downed tree, state emergency management spokesman Antonio Diggs said. They later clarified those deaths were not related to Florence.

The rising sea crept toward the two-story home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro. CNN showed the scene, a small brick house. But the water kept rising. And she has seen reports of people fleeing to rooftops to escape high floodwaters. As Cooper said, "There's nowhere for the water to go". "This is a 500- or 1,000-year event". She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew.

Coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water, and more than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

The storm's intensity held at about 90 miles per hour, and it appeared that the north side of the eye was the most risky place to be as Florence moved ashore.

Rains are expected to be quite a real hazard from the storm, as it will have a slow movement towards SC before it turns north.

As it moves near OH and West Virginia, it will become a remnant low.