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Top 5 at noon: Hurricane Florence brings catastrophic flooding to Carolinas; a desperate place left far behind in Rick Scott's economy; and more

Ocean waters rushes down Hwy 12 in Frisco, N.C., on Hatteras Island as the effects of Hurricane Florence breach the dune line on Thursday. [Steve Earley /The Virginian-Pilot via AP]
Published Sep. 14, 2018

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

Hurricane Florence delivered a slow-motion assault to the coast of North Carolina early Friday, with catastrophic storm surge and torrential rains that will continue for days. The center made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, that pushed water inland for miles and screaming winds that destroyed buildings in its path. As of 7:35 a.m., top winds were holding at 90 mph — that's just a Category 1 hurricane — and moving west at 6 mph. But some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast. Seventy people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.

Former President George W. Bush will hold two fundraisers today for Gov. Rick Scott's Senate campaign, including a luncheon in Tampa. So we asked Scott what he thinks about of the of the lasting legacies of Bush's presidency: the Iraq War. Does Scott think it was a mistake? Scott's response was … well, just read it. After eight years dealing mostly with domestic issues, Scott is now running for the Senate, where he will have a role in charting the foreign policy of the U.S. government and military.

Gov. Rick Scott talks endlessly about a booming economy that has added nearly 1.6 million jobs in his eight years in office, and an unemployment rate that has plummeted to 3.7 percent. But there's another Florida that Rick Scott rarely talks about. Jackson County, an hour west of Tallahassee, is one of three dozen counties that has fewer jobs today than it had in 2011, the year Scott took office on a promise to turn around the state's economy and produce jobs. Not only has Jackson not turned around, but things have worsened in the Scott years, according to the school superintendent, a prominent retired judge and the editor of the local newspaper.

Eddie Quezada fled Cuba to the United States for a better life. Years later, Quezada told neighbors he made the journey as part of the Mariel boatlift, the mass emigration in 1980. He made a living as custodian, first in Texas and then in Tampa. Quezada was a living a semi-retired life in a modest cottage in the University Square area when, police say, a 21-year-old woman from down the street hacked him to death with a machete during Labor Day weekend. "He survived (the emigration)," friend Freddy Ortiz said, "and this is how he dies."

One of the most popular features of Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream, the annual scarefest that opens next Friday, is that you never know when a ghoul will show up next to you on the roller coasters. Earlier this summer, the Tampa theme park filmed a commercial for Howl-O-Scream that followed along as a zombie and two actors rode together on SheiKra, one of Florida's most frightening roller coasters. The footage shows an attractive couple looking terrified as the ride makes its signature 90-degree drop. Terror turns the man's stomach and he projectile vomits on camera. It isn't fake.

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