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Area emerges unscathed from storm

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Lynda Crowley of Kill Devil Hills walks her dogs Martini, left, and Cosa as light rain from Hurricane Florence falls Friday at the Comfort Inn in Rocky Mount.

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Twin Counties emerged from Florence on Saturday afternoon virtually unscathed, but flooding remains a concern for the next few days, according to local, state and federal officials.

"We have had no reports of damage in the county," said Brent Fisher, assistant director of fire, rescue and emergency management for Nash County Emergency Services.

Edgecombe County had very little damage, said County Manager Eric Evans.

"We got between 4 and 5 inches of rain and some downed trees," Evans said. "At one point we had nearly 400 without power, but that was quickly restored once it was safe for the utilities companies to respond."

The storm caused two car wrecks, but no fatalities, Evan said.

Mayor David Combs lifted a nighttime curfew in Rocky Mount and Nashville Mayor Donald Street rescinded a state of emergency.

In Nash County, shelters at Southern Nash and Nash Central high schools are closed. The shelter at Englewood Baptist Church remains open and is pet-friendly, Fisher said.

Edgecombe County officials closed all county-run emergency shelters.

FEMA officials asked residents to stay safe by remaining indoors until told by local officials it's safe to go outside. Stay off the roads, beaches and waterways.

Officials continue to warn citizens of the very real, very dangerous possibility of flooding.

A flash flood watch remains in effect through this evening in the area, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

"Excessive rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Florence will result in life-threatening, devastating flash flooding," according to duty forecasters. 

Tropical Storm Florence is expected to move over the southern Appalachians through Monday, producing a prolonged period of torrential rainfall across much of central North Carolina and sending a lot of water downstream, according to forecasters.

Flash flooding of creeks, rivers, streams, nearby roadways and washouts of area bridges is likely," forecasters said. "This may result in catastrophic and life-threatening flash flooding and extensive prolonged river flooding."

While the Twin Counties has avoided fatalities, the state's death toll continues to rise. The State Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed seven fatalities related to Florence with more under review.

A 41-year-old woman and her 7-month-old son were crushed when a tree fell on their home Friday in Wilmington.

A 68-year-old man was electrocuted while plugging in a generator Friday in Lenoir County.

A 77-year-old man in fell due to a heart attack while checking on dogs Friday in Lenoir County.

An 81-year-old man who fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate Friday in Wayne County.

A husband and wife died in a house fire Friday in Cumberland County.

Two deaths in Carteret County previously determined to be storm-related are now under further review as a possible murder-suicide, all according to Keith Agree, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

"Additional deaths that have occurred are in the process of being investigated and reported," Acree said.

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