Florence 'unloading epic amounts of rainfall' in North Carolina

Andrew Carter  The News & Observer via AP

Kevin Knox and his family were rescued from their flooded brick home with the help of Army Sgt. Johan Mackie, part of a team that was using a phone app to locate people in distress. "It's not anywhere", North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday.

Storm Florence may have weakened but the full extent of the damage it has wreaked may not become clear for days.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm will travel through upstate SC, be downgraded to a tropical depression, then turn north toward the Ohio Valley.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", Cooper said.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel.

Volunteers from all over North Carolina help to rescue residents from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018, in New Bern, North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia.

The president sparked furor on Twitter this week when he claimed that the official death toll from Hurricane Maria was inflated by Democrats to harm him politically.

A mother and her infant are dead after a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.

A 68-year-old man in Lenoir County who died when he was electrocuted while plugging in a generator. And a man was blown away by strong winds while outside checking on his dogs.

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National Hurricane Center meteorologist Joel Cline said the mountains will wring water out of the moist tropical air: "It's like running into a wall, and that moisture has to go somewhere, and it goes up, creates rain, and you have torrential rain in that area".

But the wind is not the main threat to people and property from the storm; it's thestorm surgeandrainfall, which combined have caused serious flooding in the low-lying coastal regions of the Carolinas.

"We have 4,200 damaged homes", he said, urging residents to not wade out into the streets because of the dangers posed by downed power lines.

"We lost all of our cars last night", Heath told her viewers, "because the water was above the headlights, even on our SUVs". It's the most powerful storm of 2018 so far.

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Governor Roy Cooper said.

More than 800,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state. That's enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay or to cover the state of Texas in 4 inches.

It came as rivers swelled, tides crested and the rain wouldn't stop. That, and the storm's vast circumference of hundreds of miles, means Wilmington will be inundated with rain, the advisory said. Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said Saturday morning.

Dawn Baldwin Gibson, 47, a minister and private school founder who lives on a farm closer to the coast in nearby Pamlico County and runs a Facebook page about weather in eastern North Carolina, had evacuated to New Bern to stay with family, thinking it would be a safer spot. "Nobody expected this", a rescued resident, Tom Ballance, toldThe Weather Channel.

Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC".

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