Toll in US storm increases to 13

'Relentless rains' continue as Florence nearly stalls over Carolinas

Florence crashed ashore Friday morning in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, and it has wiped out power to about 796,000 customers in that state and SC, reports CNN.

Some towns have received more than two feet of rain from Florence, and forecasters warned that drenching rains totalling up to three-and-a-half feet of water could trigger epic flooding well inland through early next week.

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown area was under water by Friday afternoon.

In New Bern, a riverfront city near the North Carolina coast that saw storm surges up to 10 feet (3 meters), authorities were rescuing stranded residents and taking stock of damages.

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Gov Cooper said.

Nakisa Glover, a National Climate Justice Fellow at Hip Hop Caucus based in North Carolina, said in a phone interview that while the mandatory evacuation orders might make "logical sense in theory, if you don't have the resources, you can't just leave your home in a lot of cases".

"The main thing right now is to get this water pumped down" from the city, he said.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

The casualties include a mother and baby who were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The body of a 77-year-old man, also in Kinston, was found by his family at his home, and it is believed he died when he was blown down after going outside to check on his hunting dogs, Dail said.

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.


The storm is still leaving a path of destruction across the two states, despite its top sustained wind speeds weakening to 72km/h. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

More than 20,000 people were staying in 157 emergency shelters in North Carolina on Saturday. Other communities got well over a foot (30 centimetres).

The flooding soon spread into SC, swamping places like North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses.

Tropical Storm Florence is expected to weaken into a depression soon but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters, and boats.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

Florence now huge, slow-moving tropical storm.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

Picture the entire state of Texas covered with roughly 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water: that's Florence's rainfall forecast over a week.

About 809,000 of those customers are North Carolina, and about 155,000 are in SC.

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air. Nationwide, airlines cancelled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.

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