The first Hurricane Florence-related death was reported on Sept. 14, according to an official in North Carolina.
Tom Collins, the head of Pender County Emergency Management in North Carolina, said that a woman in Hampstead had a heart attack on Sept. 14, but crews could not get to her due to downed trees. Collins said they had to use a front loader to clear the roads, but a tree smashed through its windshield, according to The Associated Press.
Crews have suspended their operations in the area.
Some 150 people were awaiting rescue early Sept. 14 in New Bern, the city said at 2 a.m.
“Currently ~150 awaiting rescue in New Bern. We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue. More are on the way to help us. WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU. You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU,” the City of New Bern tweeted.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said that the situation will only continue to deteriorate, Reuters reported.
“The sun rose this morning on an extremely dangerous situation and it’s going to get worse,” he said in Raleigh. “To those in the storm’s path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place.”
Cooper added Hurricane Florence would “continue its violent grind across the state for days.”
Reuters reported that some 634,000 homes and businesses lost power across North and South Carolina. Utility companies said the power might not be restored for weeks.
Latest NHC Update
Hurricane Florence is moving slowly to the west and has 75 mph winds, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14. The agency is primarily warning residents about heavy storm surge and heavy rainfall.
“A slow westward to west-southwestward motion is expected today through Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move farther inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina today, and across extreme eastern South Carolina tonight and Saturday. Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week,” according to the NHC.
When it moves west into the Carolinas, rainfall will be the biggest issue.
It says southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern South Carolina will get 20 to 25 inches of rain, and some isolated areas will be 30 to 40 inches. Parts of South Carolina and North Carolina will get 5 to 10 inches with some spots getting 15 inches.
“Rainfall totals exceeding 16 inches thus far have been reported at several locations across southeastern North Carolina,” according to the agency.
Meanwhile, in southeastern North Carolina storm surges of around 10 feet have been reported.
“It’s insane,” he said to Reuters. “Everybody laughs at the fact that this storm got downgraded … but I’ve never seen tree devastation this bad. Afterwards, I’m going to drink a bottle of whiskey and take a two-day nap, but right now I’m walking the neighborhood and making sure my neighbors are fine, because nobody can get in here.”