Deadly Florence trudges inland in Carolinas with 'epic' rain, flooding

A farm house is surrounded by flooded fields from tropical storm Florence in Hyde County N.C. Saturday Sept. 15 2018

Cooper had just returned from surveying damage in Eastern North Carolina by helicopter with the U.S. Coast Guard. Many of those were in areas where mandatory evacuations orders were in effect. Dozens of electric fix trucks massed to respond to damage expected to hit central North Carolina as rainwater collected into rivers headed to the coast. Experts say Mangkhut may well end up being the deadlier storm, though Florence could tally a higher insured damage total.

In North Carolina, unrelenting rains were expected to swell the Cape Fear River to 62 feet next week, 3 feet higher than during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

A 61-year-old woman was killed late Friday when the vehicle she was driving struck a tree that had fallen across Highway 18 near the town of Union.

CNN are reporting that while the storm's center is now slowly making its way over SC, many of its main rain bands remain in place over already-saturated North Carolina, setting up what may be days of flooding for some communities.

The Neuse is expected to crest at more than nine feet (3 meters) above flood stage Monday and Sheehan said the company expects the same ash basins are likely to be inundated again.

More than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, but another 140 were still waiting for help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.

"There's mud all over the floor and the wood floors have buckled", she said, adding they planned to return to her brother's house because of the musty smell that pervades their home.

According to the National Hurricane Centre, the storm will travel through upstate SC, be downgraded to a tropical depression, then turn north toward the Ohio Valley.

Florence set a record in the state for rain from a hurricane, dumping 33.9 inches (86 cm) in Swansboro, North Carolina.

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"Unfortunately we've still got several days to go", Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Fox News. There is transportation provided for anyone who needs it, the mayor said. "It's like are you gonna stay here or are we going to go ahead and leave?"

"These rainfall amounts will produce catastrophic flash flooding, prolonged significant river flooding and an elevated risk for landslides in western North Carolina and far southwest Virginia", the National Hurricane Center warned in a public advisory.

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.

South Carolina's governor issued a similar warning, urging anyone in a flood-prone area to evacuate.

All roadways in the state are at varying degrees of risk for flash flooding through Sunday, with major river flooding anticipated into early next week. Its winds were down to 45 miles per hour (75 kph).

At 2 a.m. Sunday, Florence was about 25 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of Columbia, South Carolina.

Florence's intensity has diminished since it roared ashore along the USA mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane.

Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said.

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesRescue workers from Township No. 7 Fire Department and volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team use a boat to rescue a woman and her dog from their flooded home during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in James City, United States.

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