Newstalk
Newstalk

16.03 16 Sep 2018


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Five people have been arrested for looting in the North Carolina city of Wilmington as rain and flooding from Storm Florence continue to cause chaos.

13 people have been killed since Florence made landfall on the US east coast.

The weather system, which was classed a hurricane as it made its way across the Atlantic, has now weakened to a tropical depression according to the US National Hurricane Centre.

However authorities are warning that the worst may be yet to come as it continues to dump what has been described as “epic” rainfall across North and South Carolina.

The US National Hurricane Centre has said the volume of could cause “catastrophic” flash flooding.

Looting

Police said the five people detained for looting were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of breaking into a local shop.

It remains unclear what was been stolen but police said charges "are pending."

Footage posted on social media showed mostly young men walking out of the Family Dollar shop holding goods, including a crate of drinks. Some carried full plastic bags and another was seen pushing a shopping trolley.

The city is under curfew from 10pm until 6am but the area affected by looting has been given an extended curfew of 5pm until 6am.

A man peers from his flooded home in Lumberton, North Carolina, 16-09-2018. Image: AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Torrential

While Florence’s winds have weakened to around 56kph, the danger is now posed by torrential rain and flooding.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said: "All roads in the state right now are at risk of floods.

"As rivers keep rising and rain keeps falling, the flooding will spread,” he said.

"More and more inland counties are issuing mandatory evacuations to get people to safety quickly."

He had said on Saturday that "epic amounts of rainfall" were being "unloaded" as the weather system's progress slowed to just 5kph over the east of the state.

Power outages

Hundreds of thousands of homes across North and South Carolina are without power and tens of thousands of people are in emergency shelters.

Forecasters fear that the coming days could bring the worst flooding in North Carolina's history as rivers swell towards record levels.

More than 2ft (60cm) of rain has fallen in some places, and forecasters say there could be an additional 1½ft (45cm) before the end of today.


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