Communities face flooding, damage as Hurricane Florence pummels NC coast

Areas of North Carolina are flooded hours after Hurricane Florence made landfall.
23:23 | 09/14/18

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Transcript for Communities face flooding, damage as Hurricane Florence pummels NC coast
They're watching ABC news live continued coverage team coverage as her hurricane Florence continues to bear down on the Carolina as we know hurricane Florence made. Landfall at 7:15 this morning at a category one storm and right now we're monitoring developments to see if it will actually be downgraded but in no way does that mean. We can let our guards down especially for those in the region who are continuing to watch the storm and monitor it we know this storm is carrying with it a powerful punch at 85 mile per hour wind gusts. Some at winds sustains I should say and 105 mile per hour wind gusts. I want to bring in meteorologist Amy freeze from WABC and need that that sounds in and of itself pretty impressive this storm me category one at it and up. This organizing it's up a bit but that doesn't illnesses where it where it clear anyway knighted. Rick emigrate point which is the duration of the storm that really can have a huge impact when we're talking about 36 hours of those winds being sustained around. 85 miles an hour that's pretty incredible. I we've had the wind gusts at cape lookout all the way up 206 miles an arc setting it down Kate fare very large tracts. Where it happened about an hour winds are greater now the storm moves and there's gonna be gusty winds and we were up to almost half a million people without power with power issues and so it's a very large storm over a -- A long period of time but we also have some severe impacts one of those are the tornado or potential tornado outbreaks that we can have happening so. Right now there red box there between Jacksonville and New Bern this is an area where we've seen in new tornado warning pop up what's happening isn't tied these thunderstorms that we begin however patient there's two ways we can tell if there's the potential for a tornado when his on the radar which the local meteorologists are released zooming in on we've been able see some of those returns on our radars as well. Indicating that a tornado may be on the ground there's also people who have been reporting its spotty. We've had at least one confirmation from someone spotting a tornado on the ground near the spending up debris causing damage. So that's one of the immediate threat the other thing that the plotting and that's happening as we speak but it will be happening over the coming days in new forms not just the rain coming down. And rising on people's properties but also creeks rivers and streams going over their banks that had some of the flood gate is already here Buford North Carolina showing that we write reached record stages. And beating records all the way back to 1955. So this is going to be several in packs and several different ways and if you look at Florence. And a potential rainfall up to forty inches are already we've surpassed the twenty points mark which makes this the wettest tropical oils cyclone on record. But up to forty inches of rainfall of course. Would be just almost doubling. If not more that we ever had in history of that tropical system. Wow and we know that hurricane argue with opted to its citizens and our perspective that is a lot of rain and a short amount of time. And you saw there on the maps. This block of land at this is covering I wanna go out to Steve essence on airport spotted his and Charleston, South Carolina and Steve I know the storm bill making its way here direction and it seems like you may eight. Be dodging a bullet but nobody can let down their guard at this point. Now an out at this point they're still expecting anywhere from half an inch to four to five inches of rain in this area. And it doesn't take much to flood up parts of Charleston that always lied during a serious amount of rain but. Definitely this is not the storm of course that anyone was predicting three or four days ago at one point the storm was looking like it was going to take a southern jaw dog. You know when it comes to a hurricane impacts it it's like real estate location location location. We are on the south end of this storm so one of the advantages that we have right now where we are is that. Has the storm sort of whips around. It's pulling the storm surge away. From Charleston and I want to show you just kind of what it looks like here you know a lots of people. Listen to the orders and left town so that so this city is is rather empty this is the busiest Brinkley that we've seen it. In a pain in the past couple days because so many people. Did leave you'll see some boarded up businesses. Over my right shoulder. Most of the restaurants are closed the hotels are closed we were kicked out of our hotel and found another hotel that took us and it's one of the few that's open right now. They're still telling people though don't come back home. Yes there the authorities are warning residents not to come back. Just yet and at some point they will give the all clear bad is definitely not right now. But again it looks like for these low lying communities. That they were highly highly concerned about in southern Seoul South Carolina the storm appears right now it's going to pass to the north. A north of these communities and not be as much of its. Well Steve Centanni there in Charleston, South Carolina and Steve I have to say we've been on the air since 7 o'clock this morning even overnight and it's certainly reassuring to see those boarded up businesses behind you and not that many people in the street. People actually taking those warnings very seriously we appreciate it stay safe out there. We wanted to see cell and we want to talk now to Ben sell the I believe he's a resident of New Bern, North Carolina that is borne the brunt of so much of this storm the impact really felt there we talked earlier to officials who sent the water rose to as high as twelve feet in some areas and we saw cars submerged in the area band are you with me. I am IA there at first of all how are you doing. I'm doing well considering everything I'm I'm I'm pretty resilient. You say it sounds like it and I know our producers but talking to you really remarkable story I understand it three may have fallen on to your home. Yes yesterday. After sundown power went out and I knew it was going to be a long night slot settled in with my tablet ahead of them but some books downloaded to the device. And that got comfortable and did crashed about master bedroom just did miss me. In this has got a pretty big chunk of the New Zealand in there and after I gathered my oh my wits. This started looking around at. When in the master bedroom guest bedroom my son's bedroom. Into the foyer and into Monday and so had six public six new rusty and skylights. They expect lower floors put me at with a skylight. Yet Florence definitely getting some unnecessary re decorating married your house. We are. Really thankful that you're with us and and thankful that your OK yes you said you haven't a child that with your family home with you at the time that's happened. Now mogul guy I was with his mom down in and not helped a lot of condemned Savannah so they were there were safe and my intention was to keep my chainsaw dry mop you'll trying get help other people. But this thing was just really shall act of pretty pretty big term. Yes and then bring in our meteorologists and Bennett stamp followed us for a second Amy freeze. Any we're seeing this tree into a house this is something pretty. Par for the course we talk about hurricanes visit a massive tree that's come down so it took some really intense winds to bring that down and not look like pretty old street to. Ben's been their along time so heavily wooded area but this is the type of force that an eighty mile an hour wind could do so. No surprise that we're seeing damage like this unfortunately though where the tree falls a sometimes. The lucky in this where an unlucky misfortune. Of course Ben had to deal with that but that's going to be quite. Dusting to the property some sorry to hear that that happened to you but this is probably. Trees down all around your neighborhood. Yet Ben Bernanke described and you had a chance to a kind of escape your home and see what's going on in your neighborhood what what other net residents in the area are dealing with imagining downed power lines and a lot of damage. They'll both of the weather is still pretty there's the rain and sideways feel so. This kind of tough out there my neighbors lot of trees down. Power outages all over the tail I was gonna. Make up a popular you know property manager and they suggested construction leave the house looked at. Some made no way downtown look derailed no lights anywhere. And didn't went too sure couldn't download too much stuff among foreign. He decided not exactly where us when the government unfortunately am comment of this safe places dry. In them in good shape but I work. Hurricane Floyd nine Nona was of the drug treatments that are working as a counselor and we got flooded out so what corporate FEMA. Briefly. In addition people seem to understand we just closed our last. Case with Andrew last week and it was seven years prior so a lot of people are experience in the very. Trying to end of a long process of rebuilding getting a lot back together. Actually paid then I act askew what would your mindset before this storm you've been through storms and he said you even worked with FEMA. Briefly what would your mind to and staying play. My it was too to help out afterwards that was built the whole thing was just to lend a hand because under the it was going to be pretty tough. I think it to treat hadn't done it number on the house then I would be made we wouldn't be having this conversation. But that was my my intention was to help other people. Will be and we are glad you're okay especially seeing these remarkable harrowing images coming. From you directly from you and that tree street in here master bedroom mansion and stay safe out there and stay dry keep us updated okay. They preterm good luck everyone thank you. What ahead now and then he gets up properly to to FEMA headquarters where we have our Mary Alice park standing by and Mary Alice ice you have a guest there be any let. Yes this is. James Joseph who's a senior administrator here at FEMA is really the nerve center where all of according nation for the federal government's response to this hurricane. Is taking place and just to give you a cent the White House put out some numbers. A few hours ago a hundred helicopters six million meals four million liters of water. Almost 800000. Blanket or just talking about a massive response and recovery effort at this point. You know before we went on the air we are talking about how the evacuation process went tell me what you've learned from this storm so far and how things are going. Well as as the hurricane hit landfall malice it's stalling out we're seeing. Heavy amounts of rain we're really focused. On seeing where all this water has is going and where the rain is continuing to fall in creek flooding concerns so. Our focus right now is we're very grateful that so many people evacuated. Prior to the hurricane hitting landfall we're focusing on search and rescue efforts that's what state and local governments are doing and we're here to support and he's that they have. Because I've got a bunch of numbers about and how many swift rescue operations they were running out and rescue boats that they had. On ready how those rescue operations been going have there been some hairy conditions. Well I think any time that your going into an event where the hurricane is still active and heavy rain is collective. It's it's very dangerous. In some parts where the rain was falling we're seeing three to five inches of rain per hour. And that's blinding rain very difficult to drive through very difficult to navigate so for first responders that are going out to rescue individuals it's risky for them as well as those that are already in the floods path. And the numbers that you're talking about when you talk about the Coast Guard the federal government. That is in addition to what state and local. Our governments are doing so what the White House the numbers the White House put out this morning. It's just the gap that were helping fill it in comparison to what state and local governments are already doing as far as shelter supplies and food and water in the communities. Yet or my idea that she stuck by its other numbers that the Red Cross put out another group sort of filling in the gaps like you said. 141000. People spent the night in Red Cross shelters on Wednesday the Red Cross had put up over 200 shelters served about 5000 meals. Everyone trying to pitch an and and Corning Red Cross has folks right over here and as does the Salvation Army the Tut about what comes next what is tonight look like and into the weekend. For the folks newsroom and so. We're here 24 hours we're going to be here 24/7. Until the need is no longer there but the need will be there for several days and several weeks ahead. So as we look at how the rain will continue to fall where the impacts are going to be in North Carolina South Carolina Virginia. But also taking a look towards recovery is well because there will be a long term recovery as result of the event that took place here that is taking place right now. Certain part of that recovery that you guys are trying to strategize far. Well we always looking at right now with our critical lifeline infrastructure. Some 70% of the critical infrastructure in this country is owned by the private sector such as communications assets and power and water we want to work with them to ensure that they have the resources they need. To safely access communities once were able to do so and support them in their recovery because once we get those critical life lines up and running that's what's gonna help the community and the neighborhoods recovering get back to some sense of normalcy. At some sense of normalcy. Might still be outweighs offer a lot of these communities as we know. James just a senior administrator here at FEMA a lot of work being done by every branch of the military at every federal agency working together here in Washington. I have Mary Alice thank you TU and two officials there that are working. Extremely hard to make sure that that people stay safe in the in the present tense and then. That they're taking care of in the future we appreciated and it is a fair assessment that this is going to be a long term cleanup effort. For the next few weeks if not months it in in the months ahead and and one of the places it's really illustrated the damage from the storm. And then New Bern, North Carolina we that's where you find Julie Wilson WT VP. Any second barely hear hey Jeff look at. That area's golf course where an. Donna tummy or alma. River Ben the there's stuff appeared to our right there was like kind of a little docking area. That's gone this was supposed to be history and that's gone it's underwater right now. A two gentlemen out here. On their boat Beazer resident she itsy not super deep right here they're just walking through this is not something and encourage people to do. So what you do it is due to water rescues by a family of five boys who were looking for right now got this boat in the water we've got our news vehicle on higher ground. Looking for folks to be apartment complex that's right over here just. Apartment complex town homes waters right up to and I would not doubt that it's not inside a little bit. There are so these edge here once with fire department volunteer fire department the other images that your health and what they've done just volunteered to let. Go along. And try to help people cannot be honest with you it is amazing to see this community come together. It just. Pine trees yet it's just amazing to see how the community is come together to help each other to help one another. We are to previous water rescue and it was. It's just amazing because it is people. With floating east from their pool with air mattresses going out and helping folks there may be living with the disability that couldn't really get happening needed help. We are seeing that time and time again gentlemen how we do it out here. We're making way it's okay. So that's CN right now we're just out of sight of New Bern and I would talk a little bit about some of the damage that we saw as we are coming in outside of new party could really see the strength of the wind and what it done what it left behind it just take it. Mature trees snapped them over if they were just twigs or uprooted trees and I think that's a big problem with Howard here. Is does a lot of streets are right over on the lines the power lines and we have seen some. Electrical crews that you're not too many were told earlier this morning that those crews. And waist deep okay. He would pop back in the boat that's probably Smart. We're gonna hop back in the boat right over here to. And so a lot of folks out your no electricity at last check no electricity. We talked to the mayor pro it's him for all of the city of New Bern but we were told that they were gonna be suspending operations until this wind died down. The wind really picking up right now. Two you folks at home loss watching again that's right over here was a golf course you can see where they. Sand is that how much plot that's going to be there what do you think. Eight notes Alan so we're navigating these waters were looking for this family you know anything about this family. It's gonna gonna vote you're gonna Hubbell now. They saw our post office there than it is. I encourage you cannot do this is your community yet. There's good people. A lot of people don't know going to be as bad they were not prepared at all. We're hearing a lot of a lot of these folks you came mountain and they're saying we didn't anticipate this being. This bad. You know we talked about a lot on air how about this it's going to be a lot of people just really didn't anticipate this Venus got an offer outside from the midwest. And we tornado warnings and watches all the time. And at some point you kind of just okay they're here and don't just think about it is going to be I think that's kind of the same situation that we're looking at here. Just outside new burned so. That's looking out I'm give up all over to the mayor wrote him a new she was supposed to be getting. Updates. About what's going on here she mentioned earlier she got it around but let it she's supposed to be getting one. At one income 101000 residents are so our basic property damage them out at just over 4000 homes image that's residential. Equipment and a commercial supposed to get an update and we're also waiting to hear an update as to whether anyone hurt in so far it's ours we know. Noticed it. While working to update that information to confirm that we hope it's state that we do not want her as. Of course we're being cautious out here we're taking our time. So we'll be navigating the waters and thus isn't news crew we think it's gonna flood we think it's going to be bad Jeff right there behind is going to be land. We're not. Risking it and we encourage folks at home did not either. We spoke a little bit with the cajun navy if you're those folks are here and they told us. Early this morning at around like 500 phone calls of people in the new barn area alone need to be rescue if that some of those folks were trapped on roofs. Ever needing help and we do hope that those people have been rescued at this point right now we're just outside of New Bern navigating. What I can only assume was on that roadway turned waterway. And we do have our national correspondents fanned out across the region and of course our local affiliates doing an incredible job that was Julie Wilson WT VD painting a picture of what residents are dealing with there. On a boat hurt self adds some of those local residents try to save each other 88 in those ad hoc rescues that are going on as we speak I want to update you just slightly this is still a category one storm. I'm hearing meteorologist Amy freeze giving this information. Sammy five mile per hour sustained wind gusts ill so. The wind died down just a bit but that it's still quite some wind and 35 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach as we speak so heading towards. South Carolina that at that slow creep where it continues to dump. A lot of rain I wanna check in now with Natalie Bernal in Wilmington, North Carolina are ABC news courts on an and Natalie. What's it looking like where you are have you had any chance US at seven and it's there. Area out earlier we had given them. Right that this storm right now we are getting some much needed relief and I do want to provide the first report. Of injuries caused by this storm Wilmington at least in the last hour that at street fell on top of the home. Here in Wilmington at least one person was taken at the hospital they offered it that more victims would be and I won't live a dangerous situation happening. Where we are we're statement just a couple blocks on either side trees are down. Everywhere has fallen power line more than 600000. People are out of power in. Looking and it is very dangerous to the outside of the people that did not evacuate officials are telling that to shelter in place to visit the not hate to go outside especially. In those areas that are inundated by lively scene. Videos of all morning people standing on their roofs waiting for how the home that were mentioned earlier. Meetings being rescued and unfortunately. We now know of at least one injury as a result of this story Mary out at Natalie and. We're telling him to confirm. The worst fears in this case. Thank you so much for your coverage we do have some breaking news and the kind we don't like to report activity Procter eyewitness. The emergency management she's public information officer in pender county. Confirms ABC news that there has been a storm related death. Fatality. Due to some kind of medical situation. In that area and Amy this is the kind of news that we don't want to hear but unfortunately may hear more of this in the next coming hours because you've been predicting that the storm isn't. -- yet and the winds are are sustained at 75 miles per hour but even more so we've got those the rain and you're mentioning swap at 350 miles. Still getting that rate Rite Aid is a large areas so many people and acted with top from a local affiliate Julie Wilson does terrific job there from the boat again it. A vibe and an energy when it might be like during the storm for people of these neighborhoods some who may have tried to write out the storm some of them may just were not prepared. And so you don't always understand the impact he said what's going to be a storm that's coming. Off the ocean I live so far away from the ocean or my areas on higher ground a tree could fall. Your house floods out there's so many other ways just having your power go out and the ripple effects of back and causing your life and your family. Can sometimes these sort of the island populated risks and and the weather and taxes organs continue to have a domino facts. Unfortunately. Just someone having an emergency in the situation and rescue crews not being able to reach them. That's there rescue and we heard from the Coast Guard earlier this morning at the conditions are still. So bad and and just heard from Ben there and you burn that the conditions are still raining sideways so it's really hard visibility visibility wise it's hard candidly get to some of these people who really need help and that's really an constraint for so many directorate at want to go in. And it's it's actually get the updates here throughout the afternoon especially at 5 o'clock update that'll come from the National Hurricane Center in my give us some information that might cost people feel relieved and we might even see this come out of a category. One storm and turn to be downgraded but that does not mean that the risk and the potential for. Real dangerous situations doesn't continue to increase for the duration of the storm. Because we'll be seeing rain for at least another day day in half and then we'll also have to see that water drain off and all of those steps. Involve risks and killing to release their situations so I think as we go throughout the afternoon. Everybody's looking for an end in sight there's so long road ahead like people wondering how we turned the corner yes yes. Not necessarily not yet so Amy freeze meteorologist from WBZ thank you so much for continuing to monitor this with.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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