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At least four dead after Hurricane Florence hits the US
15 September 2018, 07:13 | Justin Tyler
With one grueling day behind them, the Carolinas on Friday grappled with rising water and cascading misery from a deadly and agonizingly slow-moving Tropical Storm Florence expected to linger through the weekend.
Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.
Authorities in New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people that dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater.
Hurricane Florence slowed dramatically as it approached shallower waters along the coast, dropping from a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour (209 km/h) winds on Wednesday (Sept. 12) to a Category 2 Thursday. It was still considered unsafe with potential for strong winds and hazardous flooding.
The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said it was not too late for people to get out.
After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that would see the system likely lingering for days.
Government weather satellites captured this image of Hurricane Florence shortly after its landfall September 14, 2018. "If the number seems really insane high, you always have to have some suspicion until we can actually get out and verify it".
"There is still time, but not a lot of time", said Derrec Becker of the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management. More than 1.7 million were ordered to evacuate in advance of the storm.
More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire.
A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at almost 170km/h, the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958. Airlines canceled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.
More than 60 people, including many children, were evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds caused parts of the roof to collapse.
In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril. Another guy agreed, writing, "we've already roasted Florence from a possible 5 to a 2, and made it move track from straight thru NC to SC, why not keep doing it and maybe it'll just die down completely". "If God's coming for you, you can't run from him".
Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighbourhood during Florence's assault. "I should stay in my house, where I have water and food".
Storm Helene to bring wet and windy weather to Ireland
With Florence expected to be farther north at landfall, we will have no impacts from this storm locally other than large waves. Many areas in the low-lying city flood with routine rain storms, causing street closures and detours.