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Florence rains wash away New Bern’s beloved statues

Florence rains wash away New Bern’s beloved statues

He advised never to drive through still or moving water covering roadways - and not to return to hard-hit areas until given an official "all-clear". Dozens more were pulled from a collapsed hotel.

Weinmann, a 47-year-old retired Marine, bought the vehicle 10 years ago and used it to reach people who asked to be rescued Friday.

The Weather Channel on Friday defended a meteorologist who was captured bracing against the wind while two people appeared to stroll casually behind him during a report on Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm but flooding and heavy rain are still a danger to residents of the Carolinas, weather officials say.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge moved in for an extended stay along the coast.

"The fact that there haven't been more deaths and damage is awesome and a blessing", said Rebekah Roth, walking around Wilmington's Winoca Terrace neighborhood.

The storm's intensity held at about 90 miles per hour (144 kph), and it appeared that the north side of the eye was the most risky place to be as Florence moved ashore. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz REFILE - CORRECTING GRAMMAR AND TYPO IN CITY NAME People are rescued by members of the U.S. Army during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.

With flood waters rising rapidly in many communities, stranded people were being rescued by boat and by helicopter, while tens of thousands of others hunkered down in shelters.

"For the last two years, we've had our ships going to other ports, but this year it's just the opposite for us", Murray said.

"Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

"Rivers are rising to unsafe levels, and the relentless rains will continue through the weekend", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned on Friday.

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"Remember most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars".

State and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, who have been on the ground in North Carolina for several days, already are talking about temporary housing options, state Division of Emergency Management director Mike Sprayberry said.

A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour (145 kph) winds, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and other rescue crews used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles to reach scores of people trapped on rooftops or otherwise caught in the floodwaters.

Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and the tide rolled in.

Wilmington was battered by high winds and rising flood water as a pier was smashed by a huge wave.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion litres), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimetres).

The surges will be most harmful in North Carolina, with rain and flooding also making the dangerously high water levels even worse. On Thursday, Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds (193 km).

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

Another individual's death was reported Friday in coastal Pender County though few details are known.