Death toll from Florence rises; WV braces for heavy rainfall

September 16, 2018

NEW BERN, N.C. — The Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles Saturday to rescue hundreds of people trapped by Florence’s shoreline onslaught, even as North Carolina braced for what could be the next stage of the disaster: widespread, catastrophic flooding inland.

The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm climbed to 11. A day after blowing ashore with 90 mph winds, Florence practically parked itself over land all day Saturday and poured on the rain. Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate for fear the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

West Virginians should expect to see the fallout of the storm hit the state by Monday, according to a briefing from the National Weather Service.

Most of the state should expect 1 to 2 inches of rain, with certain areas — east of the mountains, near Mercer and Greenbrier counties — seeing 2 to 4 inches, said David Marsalek, a forecaster with the NWS. Wind speed is expected to cap around 40 mph, which is not a major concern, and while there is always a chance of flooding with storms like this, West Virginians should not expect anything “catastrophic,” Marsalek said.

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