Eight Killed as Florence Dumps 'Epic' Rain on Carolinas

Rescue personnel use a small boat as they go house to house checking for flood victims from Florence in New Bern NC. Saturday Sept. 15 2018

The North Carolina attorney general's office has received more than 500 complaints of price gouging - including for hotel rooms, gas and water. The storm should move up into West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and parts of New England by Tuesday, dropping 2 to 4 inches of rain there.

At least 13 people were reported dead in the storm, with three in SC and the other 10 in North Carolina.

Numerous roads were closed, and authorities warned of the risk of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned against such behavior as roads became increasingly unsafe.

"All roads in the state right now are at risk of floods", he said.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels: The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to burst their banks, possibly flooding nearby communities. More and more inland counties are issuing mandatory evacuations to get people to safety quickly'.

He earlier said the storm system "is unloading epic amounts of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches". Storm winds might be dropping, but rivers are rising and the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

A farm house is surrounded by flood waters from tropical storm Florence in Hyde County NC. Saturday Sept. 15 2018
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Steve Goldstein, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration liaison to FEMA headquarters, said on Saturday that the storm would "produce catastrophic flooding for some time", adding that many rivers would still experience catastrophic flooding from the storm and that 3- to 5-foot storm surges were still possible along the coast. Nothing I ever experienced before, I was truly scared, ' he told AFP. But while the city was inaccessible from the outside, streets in Wilmington were busy with people looking for supplies in businesses that had power. SC recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her auto hit a tree that fell across a highway.

The White House said Trump would visit hurricane-hit areas next week 'once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts'.

More than 20,000 people in North Carolina spent Friday night in emergency shelters.

As of Sunday evening, Florence was centered about 25 miles south-southeast of Greenville, South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said. Authorities began swift-water boat rescues before dawn, and the activity picked up as water continued to rise.

On the morning of 14 September, hurricane Florence reached the Eastern coast of the United States.

That's just the number of customers without power in the Carolinas. Earlier the two states announced evacuation of coastal areas with a population of more than 1.5 million people. An Associated Press analysis found there are roughly 5.1 million active flood insurance policies in the USA, and while many new policies were signed after Hurricane Harvey flooded parts of Texas and Louisiana past year, not all vulnerable homeowners are covered.

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