Gimme shelter: North Carolinians take refuge from Florence's fury




  • In US
  • 2018-09-14 01:21:15Z
  • By By Anna Mehler Paperny

By Anna Mehler Paperny

NEW BERN, N.C. (Reuters) - Junia MacDaniel just wants to get home to her Chihuahuas.

All 14 of them are back in the double-wide trailer MacDaniel shares with her husband in New Bern, North Carolina.

The MacDaniels are seeking shelter from the monster storm Hurricane Florence, and they decided it was best to leave their little dogs behind.

They were among 12,000 North Carolinians staying in shelters after being displaced by the slow-moving storm that is expected to bring powerful storm surges and dozens of inches of rain to the eastern part of the state.

"This has been a really large evacuation and sheltering operation, probably the largest we've done, so that has not been an easy lift. I think it's working," said Keith Acree of North Carolina's Department of Emergency Management.

North Carolina began feeling the effects of Florence's wind and heavy rain on Thursday afternoon but the storm was not expected to make landfall until late night or early on Friday.

Avis Miner, 57, brought her friend and five grandchildren to a shelter in Washington, about 100 miles east of Raleigh, after leaving their trailer home in Aurora. She worried that if they stayed home "we'd be blown away."

In shelters on Thursday, people crowded on cots, inflatable mattresses and blankets on the floors and in hallways of gymnasiums, clustering in corners to talk and outside to smoke.

More than 200 people had arrived at Wilmington's Trask Middle School by Wednesday afternoon, along with 20 dogs, nine cats and a bird. More sought safety at another shelter in the city.

"It wasn't safe," said David Sullivan, a 76-year-old retired tow boat captain who evacuated his downtown Wilmington apartment. "I just figured come here and be safe."

Debbie Green, director of social services for Pamlico County, said she is always worried about people being too isolated and vulnerable to make it to a shelter and, she said, "There are always people that are not willing to leave."

Still, the shelter she is overseeing in Grantsboro, about 130 miles east of Raleigh, was 81 percent full by noon on Thursday and Green expected that number to swell. "People will come in the middle of a storm," she said.

MacDaniel, who has sat out previous storms, said everyone told her that Florence would be different.

"All the other storms we stayed put. But they told us this storm was the doozy," MacDaniel said. "We have never flooded before but we didn't really want to take no chances."

Now, she's counting the hours until she can return home to her Chihuahuas.

"When it clears up just a little bit, momma's going home ... I just miss my dogs."

(Additional reporting By Ernest Scheyder in Wilmington, North Carolina; Editing by Frank McGurty, Toni Reinhold)

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Danger remains even as flood waters recede in Hurricane Florence
Danger remains even as flood waters recede in Hurricane Florence's aftermath
  • US
  • 2018-09-23 06:44:03Z

Swaths of rivers near the Atlantic coast will not crest for days to come, such as the lower Cape Fear River near Wilmington, N.C., one of the hardest hit communities, said Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the NWS's Weather Prediction Center in College Park Maryland. "All that water is going to take a good while to recede," he said.

South Carolina communities race to beat dangerous flooding
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  • US
  • 2018-09-22 09:39:00Z

Towns and cities across the state were filling thousands of sandbags, finalizing evacuation plans and organizing rescue crews as they nervously watched swollen rivers rise near or beyond their flood stages, a week after Florence dumped some three feet of rain on the region. In Lee's Landing, a community in Horry County, a county of 290,000 people on the Atlantic Coast that includes Myrtle Beach, residents have started to evacuate by boat as the Waccamaw River continues to flood over its banks and spill into neighborhoods, a local CBS affiliate reported. Thirty-one deaths have been attributed to the storm in North Carolina, eight in South Carolina and one in Virginia.

NC river swirls with gray muck near flooded coal ash dump
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Gray muck is flowing into the Cape Fear River from the site of a dam breach at a Wilmington power plant Friday where an old coal ash dump had been covered over by Florence's floodwaters.

Photos of the week: 9/14 - 9/21
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Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm this week, but still caused

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