Storm Florence kills five, dumps several inches of rain

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In an otherwise quiet hurricane season, a storm by the name of Florence began speeding toward the US, threatening homes, lives and businesses in the East Coast in mid-September.

"We have completed all of our water rescues & want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who helped us save lives. It's called Mother Nature, you never know, but we know". "We're ready. We're as ready as anybody has ever been".

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles.

Ken Graham, the NHC's director, warned the slow pace of the storm exacerbated its danger even to areas outside its immediate path.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1-3ft of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which had dropped off from an alarming 140mph earlier in the week.

Along the coast, floodwaters have been hitting inland towns near rivers that normally discharge into the ocean. The Neuse River rose rapidly, overcoming the streets of New Bern. "We were able to evacuate quite a few; some did not go", he said.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

Officials said Friday they expected the same amount of rainfall seen during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.

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Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7.15 am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. The page says service animals aren't barred from evacuation shelters, beaches shouldn't be used for sand bags, and evacuation orders aren't enforced by FEMA. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

The Weather Service forecast the Lumber to reach major flood stage Saturday and to keep rising through Sunday. She added that preliminary estimates show around 4,300 residences and 300 commercial buildings had been damaged but emphasized that count is expected to increase significantly. But once New Bern TV news station WCTI evacuated its newsroom Thursday night because of flooding and people began to lose power, the seriousness of the situation began dawning on folks, she said.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the USA electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 21 miles per hour on September 14 morning in Columbia. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said.

The storm surge of up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) will be "life threatening" and rainfall of up to 40 inches (101.6 cm) will mean "catastrophic" flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday.

"The National Hurricane Center said Florence is moving very slowly to the west at only 6 miles an hour, then is expected to turn to the southwest, increasing the threat for historic storm surge and catastrophic flooding to coastline areas and inland cities in North Carolina and SC".