Florence Continues To Dump Massive Amounts Of Rain On East Coast

CNN are reporting that while the storm's center is now slowly making its way over SC, many of its main rain bands remain in place over already-saturated North Carolina, setting up what may be days of flooding for some communities.

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

Rivers and creeks rose toward historic levels, threatening flash flooding that could devastate communities and endanger dams, roads and bridges.

"Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Heavy rains from Florence caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station near the North Carolina coast, Duke Energy says.

About 740,000 homes and businesses remained without power in the Carolinas, and utilities said some could be out for weeks. Cooper asked displaced residents Saturday to resist the urge to return now and wait until the storm clears out and roads are passable.

The deaths include a woman and child who were killed when a tree fell on their home, a mother of two who was driving when her vehicle hit a tree in the road, three people who died from flash-flooding, and a couple who died in a house fire.

"Honestly, I'm not sure" why some people refused to follow evacuation orders, David Cotton, county manager for North Carolina's Onslow County, told "Good Morning America" on Saturday.

Rescuers had to rush to rescue residents from the coastal town of New Bern, North Carolina after Hurricane Florence caused devastating flooding that trapped people in their homes.

"Right now we've rescued over 400 people".

"Remember: Most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars", he said. "If not we'd be stuck upstairs for the next ... how long?"

As of 11 p.m., Florence was centered about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east-southeast of Columbia, South Carolina, crawling west at 3 mph (6 kph) - not even as fast as a person walking. Its winds were down to 45 miles per hour (75 kph).

North Carolina's governor released a statement Saturday saying the danger of flooding is a larger problem now than when Florence made landfall. "And this is a massive storm that has put a lot of rain and a lot of water on our coast and inland". More than a dozen major rivers in the Carolinas and southern Virginia are forecast by the National Weather Service to reach flood stage, and some - including the Neuse, Pamlico, Lumber, Waccamaw, Northeast Cape Fear and the Pee Dee rivers - are expected to set flood records.

With flood waters rising rapidly in many communities, stranded people were being rescued by boat and by helicopter, while tens of thousands of others hunkered down in shelters.

NCDOT also said drivers who would otherwise travel through the state are being detoured entirely around the state, and identifying detours around Interstates 95, 40, 85, 77 and 26 is becoming increasingly hard as the storm continues moving westward.

The Cape Fear River has overrun its banks, allowing water to pour into the downtown area of Wilmington.

As of noon, Swansboro, North Carolina, had almost 31 inches of rain, Emerald Isle had over 23, and Wilmington and Goldsboro had about a foot. The eye moved from sea to land at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

Heavy rain and flooding are expected to continue at least through the weekend, and local officials said hundreds in areas hit by Florence still need rescue.

  • Delores Daniels