Hurricane Florence drove Edwin Sanchez, 33, from his apartment and job in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he’s a housekeeper for an oceanfront resort, to a shelter at an elementary school on Friday.
He moved here seven months ago after Hurricane Maria destroyed his home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and his livelihood as a chef and bartender. The month before, Hurricane Irma drove his ex-wife to leave the island for Pennsylvania with their 10-year-old daughter, Jenniflyan.
He had called them the day before to say he was subject to mandatory evacuation and was at the shelter, which had already filled, 480 people hoping their homes would survive storm surge and inland flooding. More evacuees showed up Friday, and staff sent them to a handful of other nearby shelters, which were also rapidly filling.
In the town of Washington, N.C., flood waters swamped an intersection early Friday, making it impassable for everyone except a few with pickup trucks.
The metal roof of a warehouse across the street was shredded by the wind. A neighborhood grocery store flooded, costing the owner some of his produce. At a used car lot on the corner, two cars were damaged as the water rose.
“I can live with [losing] two cars,” said the owner, Steve Griffin, 48, who lives nearby in Bath. “I can’t live with many more.”
The leading edge of Hurricane Florence lashed the coast of the Carolinas on Thursday as the weakened but widening storm edged closer to the Southeastern U.S., bearing dangerous winds and drenching rains.
President Trump on Thursday falsely accused Democrats of inflating Puerto Rico’s death toll from hurricanes Maria and Irma, insisting the total is much smaller than various studies have found — a contention that provoked widespread outrage even as the East Coast braced for a massive new storm.