Hurricane Joaquin: Obama declares emergency in South Carolina

The latest on drenching storms threatening the East Coast as Hurricane Joaquin swirls in the Atlantic. A statement said the road was closed from the Pony Pen to the Hatteras Ferry terminal.

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley urged residents Friday to prepare for historic rainfalls over the weekend that will bring extensive flooding and power outages.

Fedor said there were 20- to 30-foot (up to 9-meter) waves in the area, and that heavy winds could have destroyed the ship’s communications equipment. Shelters will open as needed.

Residents of the mid-Atlantic British dependency mostly hunkered down at home after securing patio furniture and stocking up on gas and batteries as the hurricane whipped the mid-Atlantic British territory.

“It’s pretty serious in terms of places that do get impacted when you have tidal flooding, they are going to be impacted, really, over these next couple of days”.

Michael Robertson, 54, was grabbing a pack of cigarettes at a gas station on Sunday after staying home all of the previous day. Rainfall for the year is now more than 6 inches above normal for the city. Heavy rain was forecast for the area into Sunday.

Officials said it could take weeks or even months to assess every road and bridge that’s been closed around the state.

In Virginia, the state Department of Transportation has temporarily suspended ferry service at the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry. Highs will be cool in the low 60s for most areas. The flooding threat will continue into next week as rainfall collects in swelling creeks and rivers. Heavy rain and high tides caused flooding Thursday in the area, and more rain is expected Friday., possibly creating a danger for getting children to and from school on buses.

Emergency workers pulled people out of cars stuck in rushing flood waters last night, while the National Weather Service issued 42 weather warnings and advisories for the state, including warnings for flash floods in three counties.

Police say they responded to 74 crashes and 52 disabled vehicles by midday Friday.

The distance, however, won’t stop the storm from sending waves reaching 20 feet, high winds and an ocean surge up to 12 feet that promises widespread coastal flooding. Slow weakening of the storm was expected to begin Saturday.

Could it still make landfall in U.S.? In North Carolina, a driver died on a rain-slickened road on Saturday, according to that state’s Highway Patrol.

Lt. Jeff Gordon said Friday morning that the passenger who died was 72-year-old Saeideeh Sharifian of Fayetteville.

NWS meteorologist Steve Pfaff said the floods had been triggered by rains totaling over 15 inches.

A woman was killed when her vehicle was swept into flood waters in Columbia, South Carolina on Sunday.

Tens of thousands are without power and several hundred people had to be rescued from the flood waters.

According to the National Hurricane Center in Atlanta, Georgia, as of 11 a.m. Thursday, the eye of major Hurricane Joaquin is passing over Samana Cays in the Bahamas, 80 miles south-southeast of San Salvador.

However, it said it was not yet able to confirm that the debris was from the vessel. The crew members were in a life raft and belonged to the Bolivian-flagged cargo ship Minouche.

“The Coast Guard has launched an HC-130 aircrew out of Clearwater, Florida to search for the El Faro and its crew”. An initial ping was received Thursday morning, but no new ones have followed as Coast Guard helicopters and C-130 planes and Navy P-8 scan from the skies. There were no major injuries reported.

The weather service’s Charleston office reported “mind-boggling rain amounts so far”.

President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency over all of South Carolina on Saturday, freeing up federal money to help the state and local governments protect people and clean up. The forecast cone has pushed east and no longer includes any part of VA or NC.

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Fortunately, the hurricane force winds are centered around an area which is far northeast of the Bahamas.

Hurricane Joaquin Projected Path NHC Warns of 155 mph Winds