Sailors ordered to fill 13,000 sandbags to protect its largest base

NORFOLK (Dec. 20, 2012) The aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., the worldÕs largest naval station. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott/Released)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The latest on drenching storms threatening the East Coast. All times local:

1:50 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for the entire state to help prepare for a possible thrashing by Hurricane Joaquin.

Rain and wind from the Category 3 storm threaten to pummel the state this weekend.

McCrory says his declaration allows exceptions to weight and time restrictions on trucks while also giving him added authority to respond to trouble.

McCrory says Outer Banks towns are facing special risks because rain there has been coming nearly nonstop for a week followed by a weekend nor’easter that’s chewed up protective sand dunes.

McCrory says up to 10 inches of rain could fall in parts of the state’s western mountains and foothills, and that water pouring downhill could cause damage to communities there.

12:10 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency ahead of a storm expected to bring heavy rain and flooding. Christie says it’s too soon to know whether Hurricane Joaquin will have a direct impact on the state, but warned of coastal flooding Friday and Saturday.

Flood warnings and watches are in effect up and down the New Jersey coast already.

Christie says he will consider evacuations if necessary, but that it’s too early to know if that will be needed. He told residents to prepare themselves Thursday.

11:40 a.m.

Sailors at the world’s largest naval base are filling thousands of sandbags to protect the base’s buildings from flooding.

About , are being filled at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia as the installation prepares for days of rain and the possibility of being hit by Hurricane Joaquin. Navy officials say this is the most intensive storm preparation effort the base has had since Hurricane Ernesto in 2006.

The installation is in a low-lying area adjacent to the Elizabeth River and Willoughby Bay. It’s not uncommon for streets on the base to flood during storms.

Naval Station Norfolk is home to aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers, among other ships. The base is also home to numerous command headquarters and support buildings.

11:40 a.m.

Parts of South Carolina have seen 5 or more inches of rain fall in a drenching storm that flooded and closed roads, submerged cars and made for a hazardous commute.

Officials in Spartanburg County say one person died Thursday morning in the street flooding. Another person who was able to get out as his vehicle was swept off the road managed to cling to a tree and was rescued.

The flooding was mostly localized. Areas only 15 miles away from the worst got just drizzle.

Twenty-nine-year old Jess Herzog takes back roads to her job at a public library, and she says rain has made driving treacherous, especially coming home from work late last night.

In an email, she wrote, “There have been some downed trees where I live, and the rain’s definitely hampered things.”

She wrote that the nearby Pacolet River has previously overflowed its banks and she fears it might happen again. She says, “I take that bridge twice a day to get to and from work!”

She also fears a repeat of 2005, when Hurricane Rita caused problems in the area. Hurricane Joaquin is churning in the Atlantic and threatening the U.S.

8:10 a.m.

Heavy rains have flooded and closed streets in South Carolina as the East Coast braces for drenching storms.

Thursday’s flooding and closures were centered in Spartanburg County, including part of Interstate 85 Business just north of Spartanburg.

Doug Bryson with Spartanburg County Emergency Management told news outlets that one man was rescued Thursday morning after his vehicle was swept off the road where a culvert had washed out. The man managed to cling to a tree and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

There was no immediate word on his condition.

The coroner’s office says one person died after several vehicles were submerged early Thursday. The victim’s name hasn’t been released.

Richard Bishop says a creek behind his family’s body shop in Spartanburg was flooded past its banks but had receded somewhat by Thursday morning. A road that runs behind the shop was closed. Driving to work in drizzling rain, Bishop saw several high-water areas near train underpasses in town but didn’t have to alter his route.

This item has been corrected to show that flooding occurred on parts of Interstate 85 Business, not Interstate 95 Business.

7:45 a.m.

Officials in South Carolina say one person has died in street flooding in Spartanburg as the East Coast braces for drenching storms.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger tells local news outlets the death occurred early Thursday when several cars were submerged in flash floods.

The victim’s name hasn’t been released.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating. Troopers say several cars were trapped briefly under a bridge where flooding often occurs during heavy rain.

4:40 a.m.

Governors up and down the East Coast are warning residents to prepare for drenching storms that could cause power outages and close more roads in a region already walloped by rain.

Recent downpours have forced people from their homes and closed schools, and forecasters are calling for several more inches of rain in coming days — regardless of what happens with Hurricane Joaquin, which is spinning off the coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says depending on its path, Joaquin could intensify the storms’ damage.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the officials urging residents to take precautions, saying: “Our state has seen the damage that extreme weather can cause time and time again.”


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