Florence’s dangerous ‘flooding is only going to get worse,’ officials warn
CHRIS FRANCESCANI, MEGHAN KENEALLY and EMILY SHAPIRO
Florence’s dangerous ‘flooding is only going to get worse,’ officials warn originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
Florence’s dangerous flooding “is only going to get worse,” North Carolina’s director of emergency management warned Saturday as massive amounts of rain devastate the state.
“We have never seen flash flooding like this in our state,” state Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon added at a press conference Saturday afternoon.
Trogdon said flash flooding will last for several days and river and marine flooding could last up to a week.
“We just don’t want people to think this thing is over, because it’s not,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper added Saturday of Florence, which made landfall near Wrightsville Beach Friday morning as a hurricane and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.
“We know the water is rising fast everywhere — even in places that don’t typically flood,” Cooper said.
(MORE: Florence by the numbers: From latest power outages to possible rain totals)
Catastrophic flooding has already wreaked havoc on parts of eastern North Carolina, which sustained 2 feet of rain in some areas, and up to 40 inches in other hard-hit spots.
Newport, North Carolina, reported 23.75 inches of rainfall by Saturday morning.
Hoffman, North Carolina, has seen 19.96 inches and Conway, South Carolina, has seen 8.68 inches — with two days of rainfall to come.
At least 13 people were reported dead in the storm, with three in South Carolina and the other 10 in North Carolina.
Among the fatalities are a mother and her baby killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, by a falling tree, and an 81-year-old man who fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate in Wayne County, North Carolina.
President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences to the storm’s victims Saturday evening.
Five deaths have been recorded thus far with regard to hurricane Florence! Deepest sympathies and warmth go out to the families and friends of the victims. May God be with them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2018
There were nearly 800,000 people without power in North and South Carolina combined Saturday evening.
(MORE: How to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence)
Rescuers navigate currents to reach trapped residents
As the water levels rise, dire rescues are ongoing.
First responders and volunteers are going door to door, by boat and air, navigating dangerous currents to get to those who are trapped.
“It’s pretty dire right now,” trapped resident Jackie Mallard told ABC News. “The streets are almost like you need gondolas.”
“When you can help your fellow man, you can get out there and do what you’re trained to do, that’s a great thing,” Bill Reddon of the New York Fire Department said.