Florence death toll rises to 5 amid massive deluge

Volunteers rescuing residents from their flooded homes in New Bern North Carolina last Friday. The storm surge had overwhelmed the town of 30,000 which is at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers

But its slow march over the two states, crawling west at only 3 miles per hour (6 km per hour), is expected to leave large parts of the region deluged in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said late Saturday.

NOAA NOAA / Reuters Hurricane Florence is shown from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) #GOESEast satellite shortly after the storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, US, 14 September. Swansboro, a town near North Carolina's coast, received 30.58 inches of rainfall as of Saturday morning, setting a record for tropical storm-associated rainfall in the state, meteorologist David Roth said.

Forecasters say prolonged rainfall from Florence could produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding.

That's Jay Barnes. He's a hurricane historian and has literally written the book on the history of North Carolina's hurricanes.

Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said. More than 26,000 hunkered down in shelters.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, however, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.

About 760,000 customers are without power in North Carolina on Saturday.

Florence's death toll could rise as a number of deaths are being investigated to see if they were caused by the storm. "This one ended up in the middle of S. Front St!"

President Trump will be visiting areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week, the White House says. "We don't need them going back into their areas until they're cleared safe to go".

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.

Hurricane Florence: What storm surge could look like on East Coast
And while the 2,000-plus cancellations from Florence is significant, it's far below what fliers have faced in other major storms. Hurricane expert Dr Rick Knabb warns: "Yes good news that intensity of Florence has come down, to lessen wind damage somewhat".

The effects of Florence won't be fading anytime soon, either, as current forecasts have upwards of 15-to-20 additional inches of rain possible for areas of North and SC will Florence's remnants will linger for the next 48 to 72 hours.

Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water in the river town of New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbours awaited help.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.

"The worst is yet to come", he added.

The 400-mile-wide hurricane has already splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast.

He said that on Saturday morning, the floodwaters around his home had dropped, leaving a multitude of trees and other debris in their wake.

SC has reported its first death from Florence.

The parts of the country still in the storm's path have been saturated by summer rains and can not soak up any surplus from Florence. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit. Heavy rain is also in the forecast, with estimates showing over 20 inches near Jacksonville and toward New Bern.

Heavy rains will continue to fall in the Carolinas and heavier rains are expected to spread into western parts of North Carolina, in addition to some parts of eastern Tennessee and eastern Georgia, Doll said.

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