Flood waters rise as Florence pummels Carolinas; at least eight dead

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday Sept. 14

In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina.

The storm has killed at least five people in North Carolina.

"Were expecting additional rainfall across southeastern central into southern North Carolina and across Northern parts of SC where additional rainfall amounts that could exceed 10 inches".

As 400-mile-wide (645-kilometer-wide) Florence pounded away at the coast with torrential downpours and surging seas, rescue crews used boats to reach more than 360 people besieged by rising waters in New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbors awaited help. Dozens more were rescued from a collapsed motel.

Three medical centers have been set up in North Carolina.

It tore roofs and facades off buildings and toppled trees.

Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 meter).

The dead included a mother and baby killed when a tree fell on a house in Wilmington, North Carolina. A 78-year-old man connecting extension cords in the rain was electrocuted, according to Roger Dail, the Lenoir County director of emergency services.

The NWS says southern and central portions of North Carolina into far northeast SC are expected to report an additional 10 to 15 inches of rainfall - with storm totals between 30 and 40 inches along the coastal areas south of Cape Hatteras.

She said she called 911, but no one came.

As of 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of unsafe storm surges and "catastrophic flooding".

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Hurricane Florence starts flooding parts of the Carolinas
After landfall, the storm is expected to linger over the area for a few days, which would result in rising river levels and lakes. Experts agreed that despite Florence losing some power, it was still poised to sow just as much destruction - if not more.

Many vehicles were seen submerged in the rising flood waters after Hurricane Florence struck Wilmington, North Carolina, on Saturday. That, and the storm's vast circumference of hundreds of miles, means Wilmington will be inundated with rain, the advisory said. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

Power outages affecting more than 900,000 in Carolinas.

In general, south eastern sections of North Carolina like Wilmington and Fayetteville are at risk of flooding. "Dangerous storm surge could also affect portions of the northeast coast of SC coast today".

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

"The slow motion of the storm will make this a very prolonged flood event", Reid Hawkins, science officer for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said in a briefing.

Non-profit groups are preparing to serve tens of thousands of meals daily in the most-damaged areas, while state and federal emergency officials are locating temporary housing, including hotel rooms, for storm victims in the weeks or months that they're displaced. 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.

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

A piece of corrugated metal blown by winds from Hurricane Florence just misses a state patrolman as people move a wood and metal structure that was blown onto the roadway, in Florence, South Carolina, on September 14, 2018.

"Bottom line, tonight, it is just as bad as it was 12 hours ago and it is expected to continue for another 12-24 hours", Begnaud said.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday. "It's making it hard for us to move valuable resources to areas in need". "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later cancelled.

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