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Hurricane Florence pounds Carolinas

HUNDREDS RESCUED, 600,00 WITHOUT POWER

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WILMINGTON:  United States: Emergency crews rescued hundreds of stranded people  yesterday as Hurricane Florence pounded the US East Coast with driving rain, howling winds and dangerous storm surge.

“The storm is wreaking havoc on our state,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. “We´re deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away.”

Some of the worst flooding from the monster storm was in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, where the Neuse River overflowed its banks, flooding streets and trapping many people in their homes.

Cooper said the Neuse River had seen storm surge as high as 10 feet (three meters) and the amount of rainfall was a “1,000-year event.”

He said 20,000 people were being housed in shelters across the state.

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 7:15 am (1115 GMT) in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the Carolina coast for days.

At 11:00 am (1500 GMT), the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (130 kilometers per hour) and moving west-southwest at three mph (six kph).

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) described Florence as a “slow mover” and said it had the potential to dump historic amounts of rainfall on North and South Carolina, as much as 40 inches (one meter) in some places.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states — North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.—Agencies

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