WHAT'S HAPPENING Rain, floods still in Florence's forecast

Tropical Storm Florence, The Aftermath and Beyond

The death toll from Florence, which came ashore in North Carolina on Friday, rose to 23 on Monday.

At least 10 people have died so far in the storm in North Carolina, including a mother and child killed by a falling tree, state officials said.

Meanwhile, the city of Wilmington has been largely cut off from the rest of North Carolina by still-rising floodwaters from Florence.

Since Matthew, Goldsboro has trained firefighters in water rescues and equipped them with additional boats, Stevens said, saying the city was "much better prepared with equipment and training to help people". "There is no access to Wilmington".

"River flooding is dynamic and it's happening all over our state", Cooper said.

In Anson County, east of Charlotte, a train derailed on Sunday evening, but it wasn't clear whether it was storm-related or if anyone was injured.

"It's worrying to watch the water slowly rising", said Denise Harper, a resident of Grifton, another small North Carolina town threatened by rising water in a nearby creek and the Neuse River.

More than 641,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in North and SC and surrounding states, down from a peak of almost 1 million.

Tens of thousands were ordered evacuated from communities along the state's steadily rising rivers - with the Cape Fear, Little River, Lumber, Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers all projected to burst their banks.

Officials in North Carolina have said about 900 people have been rescued from floodwaters there, and about 15,000 people are still in emergency shelters.

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Florence, a onetime hurricane that weakened to a tropical depression by Sunday, dumped up to 40 inches (100 cm) of rain on parts of North Carolina since Thursday, and continued to produce widespread heavy rain over much of North Carolina and eastern SC, the National Weather Service said.

North Carolina emergency response department officials said that 23 truckloads of Meals, Ready to Eat - packaged U.S. military rations - and crates of bottled water had been sent into Wilmington.

Sunday, it seemed, was when the storm system that had stalked the South for days - first as a hurricane, then as a tropical storm and eventually as a tropical depression - showed its full power with staggering scope.

Bill Holmes, a state spokesman, said Sunday the message is: "Please don't come through here if you can avoid it".

By yesterday morning, the storm's winds had dropped to about 55kmh.

"I have everything I need for my whole family", said Merlos.

Kenneth Campbell had donned waterproof waders intending to check out his home in Lumberton, but he didn't bother when he saw the Coast Guard and murky waters in his neighborhood. "I'm in trouble", said the Raleigh resident. When the sun finally comes out later this week, it's going to take all the damage a long time to dry out.

The industrial-scale farms contain vast pits of animal feces and urine that can pose a significant pollution threat if they are breached or inundated by floodwaters.

The area, about 100 miles from the North Carolina coast, includes part of the city of Fayetteville. Streets were flooded and Police Chief Keith Thomas warned people not to drive, but the local food and gas store had customers.

"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.

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