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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 15, 2018 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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tonight, fury. the relentless wrath of florence. making landfall as a hurricane -- >> it's starting to get deep out, folks. >> triggering torrential rainfall as a tropical storm. swamping the care line thats. the worst yet to come. >> this is epic flooding. epic flooding. >> taking a terrible toll. and lives. leaving people powerless and trapped. risky rescues under way. heroes braving dangerous rising waters. >> when you can help your fellow man, you can get out there and do what you're trained to do, that's a great day. >> for all creatures great and small. and a tale of two storms for one town. the community just starting to rebuild from one catastrophic storm -- >> water hit me. >> the water was up to your
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chest? >> yes. >> only now to come face-to-face with florence. a town hoping for divine intervention. >> dear lord, you're the only one who can calm this storm down. >> the race to save everything precious in a town that's seen more of its share of destruction. >> this special edition of "nightline," "tropical storm florence," will be right back. (music throughout)
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"nightline," "tropical storm florence, continues. here now byron pitts. >> we join ow as florence slams north and south carolina. dangerous storm surge threat, five feet along the coast expected overnight. the flooding threat moving inland. relentless rain falling all weekend. here's abc's tom llamas. >> reporter: tonight florence, a storm that is constantly changing, battling north and south carolina. on a slow march across the carolinas. but a massive rainmaker, leaving ruin in its wake. >> the storm is wreaking havoc on our state. >> reporter: gas stations destroyed. homes under water. people and pets stranded amid downed power lines and trees. nearly 1 million customers without power. at least five people are now dead. including a mother and her infant. >> we are saddened today to announce the first fatalities of this storm here in wilmington. a mother and her approximately
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8-month-old were killed after a tree fell onto the house, crushing them. >> reporter: firefighters managing to rescue the father, who was rushed to the hospital. the fire chief describing to us on the scene how they had to cut through the tree to get to the family. >> these firefighters were out here in the height of this storm working this rescue, basically. and very, very difficult and th the instability of the tree. >> reporter: wilmington first responders outside their home kneeling in prayer. in other parts of north carolina, the rising waters swept in. trapping many who made emotional pleas for help. >> this is epic flooding. epic flooding. >> reporter: florence is now a tropical storm. those catastrophic rains likely to continue through the weekend. florence is pounding south carolina right now. what's happening is the wind is shifting. it's actually pushing the water now onshore.
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they're gating ready for a two to four-foot storm surge. they're worried about possible historic to catastrophic flooding. >> this storm is deadly. >> this is only the beginning. >> reporter: the storm first making landfall is a category 1 near wrightsville beach, north carolina. >> look at the sheer amount of water arriving -- >> reporter: our team stationed inland in nearby wilmington pummeled by the winds. >> this is what a category 1 storm looks like. it is ferocious. and these winds are whipping. >> reporter: wind gusts reaching 105 miles per hour. >> we are in the middle of it hard. i've just seen signs flying across the roads here. and the deck we are standing on, boards have started ripping up from the end of it. >> reporter: those boards becoming a danger. >> the boards are coming up, let's go ahead, we're going to go in, guys. this is just one of probably about a dozen boards that popped up off their nails. because of that we think it's acting almost like an airplane wing where it was picking up the
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wind and allowing it to pop the boards under our feet. so it was much more safe for us to be here. >> reporter: one of the hardest-hit cities, new bern, north carolina. >> i've never been so terrified in my entire life. it was horrifying. >> reporter: a beautiful river town, now under water. a storm surge of more than 10 feet inundated the city overnight. flooding the river, leaving hundreds of residents stranded. >> look how high this is now, twice as deep as it was 10 minutes ago. >> reporter: walt creighton, one of the stranded, relying on a generator until the water started to rise. >> we're about to have to kill the generator, it's about to fill with water. >> reporter: it was a generator blamed for a death in kinston, the resident electrocuted. and so many devastating images captured by those experiencing them. >> it started to get deep, folks. >> reporter: jay schreiber with his wife shooting this video from the second floor.
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>> it's probably 12 feet up from normal. a lot of debris out there. heavy things that shouldn't be this close to buildings. >> reporter: the water waist-deep in places. streets now rivers. homes becoming islands. >> we are continuing to do rescues throughout the community. people all night long have been in attics and roofs asking for help. we are calling for more resources. we've asked the governor to send out the national guard. >> reporter: the national guard responding to that call. rescuing the most vulnerable, children, and the elderly. >> grab my hand any time you want. >> reporter: dr. michael somers and nurse melinda houston volunteered to work at their hospital through the storm. >> a lot of stress but i think more than anything people are just proud to be doing what we're doing. >> reporter: houston's house one of the many that flooded. >> it's hard. i was a little tearful earlier. it's hard not knowing i have a
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house to go home to. at least i'm here with my co-workers. >> reporter: the community is pulling together to help where they can. this is actually one of the rescue vehicles. this is someone trying to get in to bring that boat in and rescue people from all that flooding. those rescuers are right now trying to cut this tree up so they can clear the road and get to new bern. >> reporter: brandon weatherington says he's been out since 4:00 a.m. working through the hurricane. why is it so important to help these people? >> i'd hope they'd do it for me. >> reporter: the relief effort far-reaching. team bravo traveled in from new york. all fdny and nypd officers. they specialize in water rescues. last year they responded to hurricanes harvey, irma, and maria. they weathered the storm in this warehouse, heading out on rescues at daybreak. >> helmets, everything, please. this is the real deal. >> reporter: the officers are
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briefed. >> anyone you evacuate from the area, bring them back to the launching area. there's going to be locals that are going to take them to shelter from there. >> reporter: packing the trucks with supplies. once they reach the staging area, they launch their zodiac rescue boat in the pouring rain. going door to door in river bend, north carolina, responding to calls. >> we've done the first set -- >> reporter: navigating dangerous currents to find trapped residents and get them to safety. >> when you can help your fellow man, you can get out there and do what you're trained to do, that's a great thing. >> reporter: the flooding not only threatening people but many pets as well. >> come on, it's okay. >> reporter: frightened dogs and cats, soaked to the bone, carried to safety. >> for 24 hours dealing with the wind and rain, we have at least a whole other day, 24 to 30 hours left of this. what we're really concerned
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about would be the amount of water that is yet to come. there have been nearly 20 inches of rain that has fatten at newport more head, close to here. you take the water they've already had, add another 10 to 15 4 40-inch. some of the rivers and creeks flood at 5 to 10 inch order less. it has to try to train drain to the ocean and it won't be able to. that's where we're going to see the biggest concern. >> reporter: the storm continues on its path of destruction. south carolina bracing for the next round of catastrophic flooding. for "nightline," i'm tom llamas in myrtle beach, south carolina. >> our thanks to tom llamas. such devastation already from florence and the worst could be yet to come. let's bring in abc's sam champion. walk us through what this storm has done to this point. >> remarkable in so many ways. this storm has a lot -- will have a lot of big headlines on it when we look back. first, that we've been talking about this storm since august
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30th. came off the african coast and moved toward the u.s. it's highly unusual and it became powerful like a category 4 at about 140-mile-per-hour winds. even at that point the hurricane center was sensing there would be some stalling with this storm. that it would wobble a bit, wiggle along the coastline. and slow down and stay there. and that's going to be one of the signature headlines of this storm and why the impacts were so brutal. storm surge one of the first ones. even before this storm made landfall at 7:15 near wilmington, we had storm surge and more than 150 water rescues in new bern, north carolina, about a 10-foot storm surge there well before the storm made landfall. then the slow crawl along the north carolina/south carolina coastline. this has been one of the reasons we've had such intense rainfall that is still going on in these areas that started well before the storm made landfall. >> moving forward what concerns you most the next 24, 48 hours? >> rain, rain, rain. flooding, flooding, flooding. a lot more of it. you're going to be surprised who gets involved with this storm as
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it curves up the u.s. long former, by tuesday and wednesday of next week, we're into northern new england with some of this moisture. the stoert term, those totals are small. they're 1 to 2, 2 to 4 inches in extreme new england. but the big rainfall totals, this is rain yet to come. locally we could have 15 more inches of rain just outside of wilmington. look at what goes on in south carolina. 10 to 15 inches of rain additional there. not unusual to see intense flooding with that kind of number. but it gets worse. because all of the rain in north carolina, the water shed drops into south carolina. so they'll have flooding into next week. rivers won'ting cresting any time soon. >> glad you're here, sam champion, thank you so much. up next, how florence could be a one-two punch for one north carolina town trying to recover from devastation caused by another storm. waze integration-
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(music throughout)
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this special edition of "nightline," "tropical storm florence," continues. here again, byron pitts. we are back with a tale of two storms for one north carolina town. lumberton is bracing for up to 20 inches of rain from florence as it tries to recover from another hurricane, matthew, that cause ed widespread damage two years ago. residents are hoping for divine intervention. here's abc's amy robach. >> reporter: as florence rips through the southeast, floodwaters engulf hopes. 100-mile-per-hour winds tear apart structures. while the storm's path moves dangerously slow across the carolinas. >> lord, you're the only one who can calm this storm down --
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>> reporter: the town of lumberton, north carolina, bracing for the worst. laying down sandbags. national guard trucks at the ready. families heading into shelters. as nearly 50-mile-per-hour winds whip into town. a town that's seen its share of destruction. from hurricane hugo in 1989 that brought tides as high as 20 feet and utter devastation to south carolina, to floyd that pounded north carolina with 20 inches of rain 10 years later. but it was hurricane matthew, just two years ago in 2016, that turned the quaint city of lumberton into a veritable water world. the category 1 hurricane left 43 dead here in the u.s., 22 just in the state of north carolina. its catastrophic flooding ruined hundreds of homes, leaving a staggering $2.6 billion cleanup. >> matthew came through on a saturday, october the 8th, 2016. whole lot of rain. 18 inches of rain in 24 hours.
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next thing you know, the rivers were overflowing. >> reporter: reverend rick foreman is pastor of west lumberton baptist church. it's served this community for over 100 years. >> sunday night the second flood came when the river went even higher. we went from a foot and a half to over three foot of water in 30 minutes. >> reporter: our station was with the pastor in the months area. >> this was the children center. because of the storm we had to tear it down. >> you lost a deacon? >> one of our church members lives across the street. they believe he had a heart attack. >> reporter: so many in this city are still dealing with the aftereffects of hurricane matthew. >> there's many people in west lumberton and south let me bearton that have not recovered from matthew. >> as they're bracing for florence? >> right. it's been a traumatic event here that's taken place in our community. >> reporter: jerry ponn senior lost nearly everything in matthew. >> i looked out, i peeked out
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the window. my god, you know. it was water. >> reporter: jerry knew it was time to get out, reaching out to friends with a boat through facebook. >> when i walked out the door, water hit me. >> the water was up to your chest? >> yes, water up to my chest along this area here. once we got out there, you can look down 41. it looked like the lake or the beach. >> you couldn't see a road? >> no road, it was level water. never in my life i thought i would ever go through something like that. >> two years later? >> two years later, i mean, this stage of rebuilding. i'm starting all over. >> you told me that it's just now that you can talk about that? people don't understand. they don't know the emotional toll it takes to literally lose everything. >> it's rough. >> and to accept help the way you've accepted help. it's not always an easy thing to
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do. >> reporter: help coming from volunteers in lumberton who are pitching in to rebuild his home. this couple found themselves homeless in 2016 at the hands of hurricane matthew. did you have any warning with matthew? >> no. >> no, ma'am. >> it had never -- i've lived here all my life, grew up down the street. all my life and we've never had anything like that. >> reporter: the kindness of strangers has gotten the bosticks back on their feet. >> two months ago you got back in your house? >> 635 days being away, we were fortunate enough to come back home. >> now hurricane florence. how are you feeling? >> a little scary. like he said, the lord brought us through that and to this point. >> are you going to leave sooner this time? >> i want to see yes. but, i mean -- i want to stay as
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long as i can. but i swim like a rock. so i'm going to have to go when i can't walk out. >> reporter: lumberton has been preparing for days for florence. over the next few days, florence will have the impact of a tropical storm. deluging the town in 10 to 20 inches of rain, up to 60-mile-per-hour winds barreling in, with fears the lumber river could once again flood. corey walters works at the city's water treatment plant, responsible for delivering the kind of water residents actually need. >> matthew inundated this entire plant for a period of roughly a month. we had emergency water filtration trailers that were brought in that we had up and running within two weeks. but the plant itself stayed offline for a month. we're making every precaution that we can to prevent a matthew from happening again. >> reporter: pastor foreman's church has also been preparing, filling sandbags in hopes that
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this time they can keep the water at bay. what do you want people at home to know? what can they do? what do you need? >> right now we need prayers. we've done everything man can do. now it's in god's hands and we're going to trust him. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm amy robach in wilmington, north carolina. >> our thanks to amy. coming up, staring into the eye of a hurricane, and not blinking. >> this special edition of "nightline" is sponsored by oral-b. i was on the fence about changing from a manual to an electric toothbrush. but my hygienist said going electric could lead to way cleaner teeth. she said, get the one inspired by dentists, with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's gentle rounded brush head removes more plaque along the gum line. for cleaner teeth and healthier gums. and unlike sonicare, oral-b is the first electric toothbrush brand accepted by the ada for its effectiveness and safety. what an amazing clean! i'll only use an oral-b! oral-b. brush like a pro.
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featurally tonight, we leave you with a bright spot from florence. as nature's devastation strikes we see a touching side of humanity. rescuers putting their own safety aside, swooping in, bringing a child to safety. humans fearlessly protecting helpless animals, keeping pets safe from the floodwaters. to this point, florence has not been biblical, but the response has been. mark 12:31, "love thy neighbor as thyself." thanks for the company, america. have a safe weekend.
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