Hurricane Florence could devastate poor communities of color, experts warn

Hurricane Florence could devastate poor communities of color, experts warn

"Life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern to central Appalachians from western North Carolina into west-central Virginia through early next week, as Florence moves slowly inland", the NHC statement read.

Authorities on Saturday warned residents displaced by a killer hurricane that its devastation was far from over, as Florence dumped "epic amounts of rainfall" across the eastern United States, bringing catastrophic flooding.

Warning of the storm's continued threat to life, Governor Roy Cooper said: "More people now face imminent threat than when the storm was offshore". North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had around 7 inches (18 centimeters). "We didn't know where to go", she said. "Work will begin when conditions safely allow", the company said on its website on Saturday.

Officials said there had been at least seven storm-related fatalities in the state.

In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to reach people.

"What we want to try to do is to minimize the time that people spend in their shelters that they're in right now", Sprayberry said. "We don't need them going back into their areas until they're cleared safe to go".

Almost three feet of rain has fallen on portions of North Carolina, a reported record for the state for rainfall from a single storm.

Forecasters say the center of Hurricane Florence is hovering just inland near Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water in the river town of New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbours awaited help.

Roads became flooded, trees blown over and homes destroyed as some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges of flood water as high as 10ft. Officials said flood waters from other areas are accumulating north of the county and filling the river basins beyond their capacities.

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"Have skin protection if you're in the water", Schlegelmilch said.

Over 100 people remain trapped in New Bern, a town on the Neuse River which has been hit hard by rain and flooding.

The dead included a mother and baby killed when a tree fell on a house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Florence already has set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths.

A 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said. A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling and hitting his head while packing to evacuate.

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C., on September 14, 2018. The Category 1 storm is expected to move further across parts of North Carolina and South Carolina Friday and Saturday.

The White House said President Trump will tour areas affected by Florence next week, once it is determined that his visit will not disrupt rescue and recovery operations.

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern.

"The cost to SC, if that happens, if the storm continues the way it is going, could be in the billions", Dahler said.

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