The hurricane was also deadly, killing five people.
A tree that fell on a house, killing two people, is seen during Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018. The child’s injured father was hospitalized. In the state’s Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.
Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line. It hit the coast as a Category 1 storm with 90 miles per hour maximum sustained winds, the NWS said. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire. People were stuck in their cars, attics and rooftops, waiting for rescuers in boats.
In North Carolina, the city of New Bern was particularly hard hit. “It came in slowly but then it just steady, just kept rising”, Annazette Riley-Cromartie said.
One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: “We’re a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now”. As of 8 a.m. on Saturday the system was located about 35 miles west of Myrtle Beach, S.C. and was about 45 miles south-southeast of Florence, S.C. While some meat processors shifted production to plants outside the storm’s path, in other cases processing was put on hold altogether.
At one point, the 350-mile-wide but slow-moving storm packed winds so fierce that “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor almost lost contact with CBS News’ New York studio during the morning broadcast.
Top sustained winds are now about 100 km/h and the storm is moving to the west-southwest at 7 km/h – a track that is expected to continue through early Saturday.
“It’s a big task, because our main priority is protecting lives”, Jon Ingram, the Brunswick County, North Carolina sheriff, said on Saturday during an interview with FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto.
Onslow County spokesman Cornelius Jordan said some visitors at the Triangle Motor Inn were able to drive away on their own, but emergency personnel had to take others to a safe location.
Power outages increased throughout Friday.
More than 760,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state. For the remainder of the day, wind gusts could reach about 38 miles per hour in Wake County and up to 50 miles per hour in southern counties.
Eight people, including an infant, were killed as Florence battered the coast off North and SC on Friday and into Saturday.
As they waited for emergency workers, they heard neighbors calling for help.
Add Hurricane Florence as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricane Florence news, video, and analysis from ABC News. “It’s an uninvited brute who doesn’t want to leave. This rainfall will continue to produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding”, the advisory said. Storm surge search and rescue operations have been underway across the county. Flood stage for the river is 14 feet. More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest Universitys basketball arena.
Storm Florence has battered the eastern U.S. coast with non-stop rain, surging seawater and howling winds.
Others who chose to stay at home perhaps regretted their decision. The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to rise over their banks, flooding cities and towns.
Craven County Emergency Management confirmed reports there are New Bern residents trapped on rooftops. Additional swiftwater rescue teams were on the way.
But don’t go back until you get the official all-clear.