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Offbeat Strangers help woman who was planning to ride out Florence with 7 rescue dogs

16:25  14 september  2018
16:25  14 september  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Florence downgraded to Category 3 hurricane

  Florence downgraded to Category 3 hurricane Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 3 storm on Wednesday night but may strengthen by the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm is in the middle of the Atlantic, about 1,085 miles east-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and about 1,235 miles east-southeast of Bermuda, with maximum sustained winds at 125 mph. Florence was a Category 4 earlier Wednesday before weakening a bit by night time. It is moving northwest at 10 mph.

A South Carolina woman who was planning to ride out Hurricane Florence because she couldn't evacuate with her seven rescue dogs has found a way out.

After CNN reported on Christine Meinhold's dilemma Wednesday, strangers reached out on Facebook -- and thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, they rented her a truck so she could reach her family in Tennessee.

The organizer of the campaign, Palms Springs-based radio host Kate Zenna, said she started raising funds because she "wasn't able to let all those dogs perish."

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  Priest on Grand Strand beach before storm: ‘God bless you, be safe’ Father Edward Fitzgerald stepped into the sand in Garden City and gazed out on the rough surf. “Some how, some way, God is going to take care of us,” he said Thursday morning.Load Error

"I went to rescue dogs alone after Katrina and what I saw will never be forgotten. And now I am living with a lot of dogs and always have a plan," she told CNN.

Meinhold's dogs on the rented truck© Christine Meinhold Meinhold's dogs on the rented truck Zenna said about 16 people across the US coordinated on Facebook chat and donated to help Meinhold evacuate with her dogs. Initially, the group planned to purchase a 2009 Dodge Journey with the help of a generous single $5,200 donation, Zenna said.

When that plan fell through, a donor suggested to rent a U-Haul van.

Pictures shared on Facebook show the journey of Meinhold and her dogs out of the danger area on the rented van.

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'I can't abandon them'

Meinhold lives just outside Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with the dogs that she has rescued.

FEMA chief on Florence: Biggest concern is "trying to get to the people who didn't evacuate"

  FEMA chief on Florence: Biggest concern is "What concerns me the most is trying to get to the people who didn't evacuate and that's incredibly hard to do so we can't put our own people in danger"As the storm lashed North and South Carolina Friday as a hurricane, FEMA officials warned of the storm's menacing rain.

"I really don't have the resources to evacuate with seven dogs," she told CNN on Wednesday. "When I rescued these dogs, I took on a responsibility of loving and caring for them the rest of their lives."

She added: "I can't abandon them. My car has over 205,000 miles on it and won't make it far. I can't imagine breaking down somewhere and putting them in danger."

At the time, she said she would board up her house as best as she could.

During Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Meinhold helped rescue animals from the floodwaters.

"I have two hurricane dogs from Matthew that I took in after they were pulled out of the water," she said. "One was so skinny, you can imagine my surprise when I got her home and she had six puppies. Didn't know she was pregnant, she was so skinny. I found rescue for all six puppies."

The Latest: Thousands told to get ready to evacuate in SC .
About 6,000 to 8,000 people are being told they should prepare to evacuate because of anticipated flooding from rivers in a coastal South Carolina county. Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers says Sunday that a "record event" of up to 10 feet (3 meters) of flooding is expected because of heavy rains dumped earlier by Hurricane Florence. The flooding is expected to start Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers.Broach-Akers says people in the potential flood zones should plan to leave their homes Monday. Georgetown County is opening two shelters for those who evacuate.

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