Slow-Moving Florence Causing Major Flooding As It Swirls Over Carolinas

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This retired Marine is rescuing storm victims in his military transport vehicle

A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, more than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet by the end of the weekend.

WILMINGTON: Florence barreled into the Carolina coast and moved inland on Friday, knocking down trees, overflowing rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leading to the death of five people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

The Navy says nearly 30 Virginia-based ships and 128 aircraft sent away from their bases in the Hampton Roads-area because of now-Tropical Storm Florence have been given the go-ahead to return.

One of the towns worst affected is New Bern, which sits between the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina. Dozens more were pulled from a collapsed motel.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

A spokesperson for the ABC affiliate said roads around the building were flooding.

Authorities in North Carolina said almost 814,000 customers were without power.

A mother and infant were killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, when a tree fell on their home. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said, and the governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

Authorities on Saturday warned residents displaced by a killer hurricane that its devastation was far from over, as Florence dumped "epic amounts of rainfall" across the eastern United States, bringing catastrophic flooding.

Storm Florence has battered the eastern USA coast with non-stop rain, surging seawater and howling winds. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

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More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power September 14 morning according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

The storm made landfall on Friday near Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 squeezed between North Carolina's Atlantic coastline and the Cape Fear River.

According to Doll, many areas in North Carolina are seeing somewhere between 10 and 20 inches of rain.

Two fins were spotted in the high water in Wilmington.

Florence could become a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000.

The hurricane center said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a sharp rightward swing to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters that five deaths have been officially confirmed in his state, with several more under investigation. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimetres) of water, he calculated.

The rest of SC into western North Carolina and southwest Virginia is expected to report 5 to 10 inches of additional rainfall, with isolated cases of 15 inches. Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE.

Members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force search a flooded neighbourhood for evacuees during Hurricane Florence in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. The river is forecast to crest more than three feet above its previous record set during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, when much of the same area experienced devastating floods. "We're asking people, please stay off the streets unless it is an absolute emergency", he said. "It's making it hard for us to move valuable resources to areas in need". 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.

Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house.

More than 100 people were rescued and up to 75 more were awaiting rescue on Saturday morning, according to a town official.

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