15 killed as Florence pounds US East Coast

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard walks down Mill Creek Road checking houses after tropical storm Florence hit Newport N.C. Saturday Sept. 15 2018

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard walks down Mill Creek Road checking houses after tropical storm Florence hit Newport N.C. Saturday Sept. 15 2018

"But they will. And the question is how high will the water be, and we do not know".

Department of Transportation secretary James Trogdon said there is one major accessible route into the city of almost 120,000 people.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, the eye of Hurricane Florence is still moving slowly westward toward the North Carolina-South Carolina border, according to the National Hurricane Center.

More than 900 people were rescued from rising floodwaters and 15,000 remained in shelters in the state, Cooper said.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that Florence, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, continues to dump heavy rain on parts of North Carolina and northeastern SC.

"There are no roads. that are leading into Wilmington that are passable because of the flooding that is taking place now inland", Saffo said.

But as the rain continued to fall, its officials were asking North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for additional law enforcement, including the National Guard, White said.

Flooding worries were increasing in West Virginia and Virginia, where power outages also were on the rise. The smell of broken pine trees wafted through damaged neighbourhoods.

Authorities near Charlotte were searching for a 1-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters when the boy's mother lost her grip on him after her vehicle was swept off a road.

The sun appeared in some areas for the first time in days, allowing some people to return home to assess damage and to reckon with the problems that develop as a result of massive floods caused by several feet of rain.

Desperate for gas to run a generator at home, Nick Monroe waited in a half-mile-long (.8 kilometre-long) line at a Speedway station even though the pumps were wrapped in plastic. Florence made impact on the coast of North Carolina on Thursday night and has moved inland throughout the day.




"It's all kind of a blur", Monroe said.

Federal rescue teams were also positioned before the rivers could rise, with a search-and-rescue team based in Lincoln, Nebraska, joining efforts in Fayetteville to make sure senior citizens were safe ahead of the worst of the flooding.

The coastal city of Wilmington was largely cut off due to flood waters from the Cape Fear River, with one single road available for emergency workers and those bringing food and water.

Caudle and his family then waded into the brown water, past a U.S. Coast Guard trailer where three boats had launched to patrol the neighborhood and rescue people needing help.

That's the lesson learned by one North Carolina motorist who wanted to drive to Florida to escape Florence's devastation but instead got steered into flooding that closed a stretch of Interstate 95.

Caudle said Hurricane Matthew had damaged some duct work but had not totally ruined his house almost two years ago.

As rivers swelled, state regulators and environmental groups were monitoring the threat from huge hog and poultry farms located in low-lying, flood-prone areas.

The industrial-scale farms contain vast pits of animal faeces and urine that can pose a significant pollution threat if they are breached or inundated by floodwaters. In past hurricanes, flooding at dozens of farms also left hundreds of thousands of dead hogs, chickens and other decomposing livestock bobbing in floodwaters.

Some stream gauges used to monitor river levels failed when they became submerged, but others showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to at or near record levels.

And about 46 miles farther up the waterfront, in New Bern, about 150 people were waiting to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported. In the neighboring town of Trenton, downtown streets were turned to creeks full of brown water. Six people died in SC, including four in auto accidents and two from carbon monoxide from a portable generator.

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