The storm Florence, which has already killed at least nine people on the US Atlantic coast, is still threatening to wreak havoc over the weekend because of "monumental quantities” rain it chars and floods it causes, according to authorities who warned the evacuees not to attempt to return home.
The storm has killed at least eight people, according to authorities: five, including a mother and baby killed in their home by the fall of a tree, in North Carolina, and one in South Carolina, a woman of 61 years old died Friday when his car hit a tree lying on the road. Three others were victims of "flash floods"” on the roads, said Duplin County authorities in North Carolina.
Several US media also report the figure of 11 dead.
Gusts of wind and torrential rain caused significant damage. Many roads were cut by trees and power poles torn off, or by flash floods.
The depression "pours monumental quantities of rain," warned Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina (southeast), the hardest hit state.
"All roads in the state can be flooded," warned the governor. Despite the removal of evacuation orders on the coast, "you are not safe going there," he said to his constituents eager to join their home.
"Many people who think the storm has failed have not yet faced its threat," he said, warning mountain dwellers in the west of the state while Florence should continue to sink west Saturday and deviate north Sunday.
Several localities in the two states of Carolina have in turn taken Saturday evacuation orders in anticipation of floods.
The storm "will cause catastrophic floods in parts of North Carolina and South Carolina for a while," said Steve Goldstein, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA). "We are dealing with a major event of floods and rain, we are also attentive to possible landslides," he added.
Florence, which was weakening, advanced Saturday at 6 km / h with winds of 75 km / h inland on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, according to the bulletin of 14:00 (18:00 GMT ) broadcast by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The authorities were now trying to evacuate the water and rescue the inhabitants trapped by the water.
"Like a TGV"
Around the city of Hampstead, on the North Carolina coast, evacuees were trying to return home to see the damage despite flooded roads, according to an AFP correspondent.
Part of the city of New Bern, about 30,000 inhabitants, had been under water since Friday, trapping hundreds of residents. The tourist city is located at the confluence of rivers Neuse and Trent and close to an estuary.
A retired teacher, Charles Rucker had just bought his house where he had spent only five nights when the storm fell, suddenly raising the water by three meters.
"It was like a TGV crossing the lounge, I had never seen anything like it, I was really scared," he told AFP, referring to the sudden rise of water caused by the tide of storm.
The flooded streets were covered with a film of motor boat oil, an AFP reporter said. Some houses were all open doors, driven by gusts of wind. Several bear statues, the fetish animal of New Bern, floated in the streets where the water sometimes reached mid-thigh despite their weight.
More than 400 people were rescued and 4,200 homes were damaged, said Saturday Mayor Dana Outlaw.
"The priority is to pump the water that is in the city” But "the time to return is not yet come," he said on CNN at the address of 1,200 residents in refugee reception centers.
About 750,000 households were without power on Saturday in North Carolina, according to Emergency Management Services.
For its part, the National Parks Agency welcomed on Twitter that the 16 wild ponies of the Ocracoke colony, which live on an island off the coast, were safe and sound.
US President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit early or mid-week in affected areas.
While the storm was still blowing on the Atlantic coast, the president returned Friday night over the controversy over the official record of 3,000 deaths caused by Hurricane Maria that devastated the island of Puerto Rico in September 2017, which he contests figures.
The balance was only 16 deaths after his visit "and as if by magic, +3 000 DEATHS + (…) NOT POSSIBLE", he wrote on Twitter.
16/09/2018 04:14:37 –
New Bern (United States) (AFP) –
© 2018 AFP