Florence lumbers inland, leaving five dead, communities flooded

As Tropical Storm Florence continues its slow assault on the North Carolina coast, some county sheriffs are grappling with another problem amid the mass flooding: looters.

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.

Catastrophic flooding from Florence spread across the Carolinas on Sunday, with roads to Wilmington cut off by the epic deluge and muddy river water swamping entire neighborhoods miles inland. A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling and hitting his head while packing to evacuate.

The figure included a woman and her baby killed when a tree fell on their house, while a sixth fatality occurred in SC. In Kinston, a 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to plug in a generator, and a 77-year-old man was found dead, apparently as a result of being knocked down by strong winds after venturing outside to check on his dogs.

"And we're not done yet", Graham said, adding that some hard-hit areas could get an additional 15 to 20 inches because the storm was moving so slowly.

The White House announced on Saturday that President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for North Carolina a day earlier, an order that opens up federal funding, including housing and home fix grants. "America is proud of you", Trump tweeted on Friday, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which responds to disasters in the United States. "I was looking for water moccasins to hit me at any time", he said.

"We're deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away".

Florence had been a category three hurricane with 120mph winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a category one hurricane before coming ashore.

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"We're going to need significant resources to recover", Cooper, the North Carolina governor, said. They are part of Cajun Navy which is an informal volunteer group set up after Hurricane Katrina.

Cooper said there have been 17 confirmed storm-related deaths in North Carolina from Florence, which made landfall on the state's Atlantic coast on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

-So far: almost 31 inches (79 centimeters) of rain was reported in Swansboro, on the North Carolina coast, and forecasters Saturday expected another 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) in parts of the Carolinas.

As the storm center shifts further inland, counterclockwise rotation around the center of circulation will continue to pull in loads of tropical moisture from the Atlantic ocean and pushing up against the more rugged terrain of central and western North Carolina. Power outages are widespread, and rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds besieged by the rising waters.

Videos posted to social media show water gushing through the streets and carrying debris as winds cause trees to rip from their roots. A 105 miles per hour wind gust recorded in Wilmington Friday morning was the second-strongest ever.

Mason Tarr said he spent the night at a friend's house but didn't sleep well.

- The weather service says the main impacts in the region will be high surf, risky rip currents and possible minor coastal flooding around high tide at the shore.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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