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Florence lumbers inland, leaving 5 dead, states flooded, World News & Top Stories

16 September 2018

At least four people were killed.

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing.

Rivers are rising on the north side of Hurricane Florence as the storm swirls counter-clockwise, pushing a surge of ocean water far in from the coast.

Across the Carolinas, officials are sounding the alarm: More communities will flood as rivers collect water from upstream and spill over.

Almost 814,000 homes in North Carolina and 170,000 in SC are without power.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has finally made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Some other parts of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said.

Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia, could also be in for heavy rains as Florence plods inland. The previous record of 24.06 inches was set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

More than five people have died in Hurricane Florence before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc. The child's injured father was hospitalised.

Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC". When they got to the home, the woman was dead.

Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, the sheriff's office said.

He advised never to drive through still or moving water covering roadways - and not to return to hard-hit areas until given an official "all-clear".

Those who stayed behind gave harrowing accounts of getting trapped in their homes surrounded by water.

"They definitely need to be prepared." he said.

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As they waited for emergency workers, they heard neighbors screaming for help.

Charley English of the American Red Cross said anyone wondering how to help from afar can donate blood, registering first at their local Red Cross websites.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday.

"It's hard to believe it's going to get that high", says Elizabeth Machado, who came to the bridge to check on the river. Storm surges, flash floods and winds scattered destruction widely and the Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles to conduct rescues Saturday.

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.

It's not just rain in the local area that will torment Conway, forecasters warn.

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.

Power outages affecting more than 900,000 in Carolinas.

The National Weather Service warned of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods" as a staggering 18 trillion tons of rain could be dumped on the Mid-Atlantic through next week, enough to cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches of water. "And then we will shift into putting our communities back together".

Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain.

Officials have declared states of emergency in several states, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

As it moves near OH and West Virginia, it will become a remnant low.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week. Operation BBQ Relief will be serving hungry people this weekend.