Hurricane Florence to cause massive flooding in US

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Florence is expected to crawl to the west - battering everything in its path with 80mph winds - before smashing into neighbouring SC.

Hurricane Florence blew ashore in the US state of North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour (144 km/h) winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, felling trees, splintering buildings, trapping hundreds of people and swamping entire communities along the coast. Another woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

Several million people could lose power by the time Florence sloshes its way through the state.

"We knew this was going to be a big storm, but it is going to be of epic proportions", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference in Raleigh.

Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate aftermath.

As of 5pm (2100 GMT Friday), maximum sustained winds had weakened to 110kph (70mph) but the NHC warned Carolina residents to be alert for life-threatening storm surges and "catastrophic freshwater flooding".

By yesterday evening, the centre of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.

Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said. It was expected to slowly move southwest into SC before turning north, forecasters said.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of said Florence could dump a staggering 68 trillion litres of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

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.

Another moving photograph captured a K-9 handler giving his dog, Tag, fluids through an IV bag to keep him healthy while conducting important search and rescue work in Pembroke, North Carolina.



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