Colleen Roberts spoke with CBS 17 Durham, North Carolina anchors about the latest conditions and how New Bern is handling the storm on Sept. 14. YouTube video
Even with tremendous loss and catastrophic damages, the worst of Tropical Storm Florence is over for South Carolina’s Midlands. However, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, the worst of the storm is not over yet, according to South Carolina’s local newspaper, The State.
“The storm has never been more dangerous than it is right now,” Cooper said.
As of Sunday morning, the state is no longer under a tropical storm warning and flash-flood watches for everywhere except the northern Midlands and Pee Dee areas have been canceled, said Rachel Cobb, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Instead the state is under a lake wind advisory, which is issued by the National Weather Service local forecast offices when windy conditions on area lakes are expected to be hazardous for boaters and other recreational events on or around lakes.
Also, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Fairfield, Kershaw and Lee counties remain under a flash-flood watch, the Columbia National Weather Service office said in a statement.
“I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods yet, but the heavier rain should stay to the north,” Cobb told The State Saturday night.
Unfortunately, the death toll from the storm has risen to at least 23, including 17 in North Carolina. Rescue workers near Charlotte recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who had slipped out of his mother’s hands after their car got stuck in floodwater on Sunday evening.
The dead also included a mother and baby killed by a falling tree in Wilmington, North Carolina. South Carolina recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her car hit a tree that fell across a highway.
Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, authorities said. A husband and wife died in a storm-linked house fire, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling while packing to evacuate.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Florence is causing flash flooding and major river flooding over a huge part of North and South Carolina. Around 740,00 homes and businesses are still without power in North and South Carolina.
The National Weather Service also said that life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods and prolonged significant river flooding are possible in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and the southern to central Appalachias to western North Carolina to west-central Virginia and far-eastern West Virginia into early next week.
Also, water levels along the North and South Carolina coasts are gradually receding as of Saturday night.
In addition, Swansboro, North Carolina, has received more than 30 inches of rain; several other have received more than 20 inches. Tornadoes are still possible through Sunday in North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina, the NHC said.
Meanwhile, authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within a mile of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 100 miles from the North Carolina coast. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population of 200,000.
Nebraska Task Force One explains their expertise as rescue workers. They are a FEMA Sponsoring Agency. YouTube video
Fayetteville’s city officials, fortunately, received help from the Nebraska Task Force One search and rescue team to evacuate around 140 residents of an assisted living facility in Fayetteville to a safer location at a church.
Already, more than 2 feet of rain has fallen in places, and forecasters saying there could be an additional foot before Sunday is out.
New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said 455 people were safely rescued in the town of 30,000 residents. She called damage to thousands of buildings “heart-wrenching.”
Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.
Coast Guard helicopters took off across the street to rescue stranded people from rooftops and swamped cars.
The Marines rescued about 20 civilians from floodwaters near Camp Lejeune, using Humvees and amphibious assault vehicles, the base reported.
The Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles Saturday to rescue scores of people trapped by Florence’s shoreline onslaught, even as North Carolina braced for what could be the next stage of the disaster: widespread, catastrophic flooding inland.
Fortunately, the Columbia area felt relatively mild effects despite earlier warnings that Florence could rival the infamous 2015 storm that caused historic flooding. Local officials and forecasters cautioned, however, the storm would continue for hours, moving westward at just 3 mph and bringing continued wind and rain to the Midlands through Sunday afternoon or evening, according to The State.
Isaiah Singleton was SPJ Region 3’s 2018 summer intern. He is a senior at Savannah State University majoring in online/print journalism. Singleton is a contributing writer for the University’s student-ran newspaper, The Tiger’s Roar. Raised in Stockbridge, Georgia, writing has always been his passion. During childhood, he wrote numerous fictional stories about his life and what he wanted it to be.