Hurricane Florence arrives » AUDIO: [Sound of Hurricane Florence]
Hurricane Florence is now spinning over the Carolinas, battering the region with strong winds and driving rain. The storm hit the coast last night as a category 1 hurricane.
AUDIO: [Sound of Hurricane Florence]
The storm surge, as expected, has been devastating along the shoreline, submerging many coastal communities. And Florence is living up to its billing as a catastrophic rain event. And because of the storm surge, a lot of that rain will have nowhere to go, creating flood conditions well inland.
Florence will continue wreaking havoc for days and recovering from the storm could take weeks in some areas, months in others.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
COOPER: Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience.
Florence is expected to track toward Columbia, South Carolina into the overnight hours, still packing tropical storm force winds. Then on Sunday, it’s expected to bring severe weather to Georgia and Tennessee before tracking north.
Typhoon Mangkhut to make landfall tomorrow » Meanwhile, officials in the northern Philippines are bracing for an even bigger storm.
Typhoon Mangkhut could make landfall tomorrow as a super typhoon with winds of 150 miles per hour or more. Officials fear the storm, combined with the seasonal monsoon rains, could trigger landslides and flash floods. The northern coastal and island villages in the typhoon’s path started to evacuate residents yesterday.
Forecasters say the storm is expected to move toward Hong Kong and southern China on Sunday.
President Trump disputes death toll from Hurricane Maria » As Hurricane Florence zeroed in on the Carolina coast Thursday, President Trump stirred controversy about another storm. He took to Twitter to to refute a recent revision of the official death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, which slammed the island a year ago.
The president tweeted “3,000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico,” adding that officials had only counted between six and 18 deaths when he arrived after the storm. He went on to say Democrats were behind the death toll revision and that it was intended to make him look bad.
But Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan disagreed.
RYAN: There is no reason to dispute these numbers. It’s a function of this was a devastating storm that hit an isiolated island. And that is really no one’s fault.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Roselló raised the death count last month from 64 to nearly 3,000. That revision followed an independent study of the storm’s aftermath.
In a Facebook post Thursday, Roselló said the the people of Puerto Rico “do not deserve to be questioned about their pain.”
Pope accepts bishop’s resignation, meets with U.S. delegation » Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of an American bishop amid more sexual misconduct allegations. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield resigned this week amid accusations the bishop sexually harassed adults.
Pope Francis also authorized the diocese to conduct an investigation of the accusations against the bishop, which Bransfield has denied.
The announcement came as a four-member delegation of U.S. cardinals and bishops arrived at the Vatican for a meeting with the pope. The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, requested the papal audience last month amid the growing sex abuse and cover-up scandal.
But the ever-growing web of accusations now includes DiNardo: On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that two victims in Houston had accused him of not doing enough to stop a predator priest arrested this week on sexual abuse charges.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
Feinstein refers Kavanaugh info to federal investigators » The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein said she’s referred information about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to federal investigators. A move that seemingly suggests she believes Kavanaugh may have been guilty of a crime.
She would not say what the information is or where it came from saying only that she received it from a source who “strongly requested confidentiality.”
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he’s seen nothing more than news reports and speculation.
GRASSLEY: All I know is what I read, and I wouldn’t make any judgment of it until I had more information.
Meantime, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, as expected, delayed its scheduled vote on Kavanaugh. The vote to advance his nomination to the full Senate is now slated for next Thursday.
Russian suspects TV interview » Two Russian men charged in the Novichok attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia spoke out on Thursday. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: One day after Russian President Vladimir Putin called the men innocent civilians, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov granted an interview to the RT news service.
The men claimed to be tourists in the UK, having traveled more than a thousand miles to see the Salisbury Cathedral.
Video footage placed the two men in the Skripal’s neighborhood on the day of the attack. But Petrov said that was just an “incredible” coincidence.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May, quickly responded, calling their denials “lies and blatant fabrications.”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Culture Friday. And later, your listener feedback. This is The World and Everything in It.