Florence keeps dumping rain on Carolinas

Florence keeps dumping rain on Carolinas

Florence keeps dumping rain on Carolinas

Even though Florence was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, its still considered risky and could be deadly for anyone in its path. Its implacable advance threatens as much as $20 billion in damage, a toll that likely will unfold through the weekend.

First responders and volunteers battled through Florence's brutal winds and torrential rain as they continued their rescue operations in North and South Carolina Saturday morning.

"We are expecting several more days of rain and our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger and then we will shift to putting our communities back together", Cooper said Friday. 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 all-time flood records.

Authorities have confirmed those storm-related deaths, including a mother and her infant child who died after a tree fell on their home in New Hanover County, where the storm hit Friday morning with a 105 miles per hour wind gust, the strongest wind in the city since 1958. Top sustained winds were 50 miles per hour, according to the latest advisory.

The storm is expected to turn west and then north moving through the Carolinas and the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said early on Saturday.

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the National Hurricane Center said.

Governor Roy Cooper called the rainfall an event that comes along only once every 1,000 years. The storm's size and area affected by hazardous winds have actually expanded, and the threat from storm surge and rain-induced flooding "have not changed" tweeted Rick Knabb, The Weather Channel's tropical weather expert and former Hurricane Center director.

The storm has a wide reach, too. More than 60 guests fled the Triangle Motor Inn in Jacksonville in the middle of the night after winds and rain put a basketball-sized hole in a corner room, according to police.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225 kph to 165 kph by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a Category 4 to a Category 2.

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Duke Energy said Florence, a Category 2 storm, could knock out electricity to three-quarters of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas, and outages could last for weeks.

Both deaths were reported to the State Medical Examiner's Office by the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office.

Environmental groups are preparing to inspect waterways for toxic spills from coal-ash ponds and hog lagoons once the storm subsides.

"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.

The cause of the broken cable wasn't clear, but officials said water had seeped into the structure and led to some corrosion at some point. "Once the weather breaks, it will be fairly obvious if there's a problem, " he said from Raleigh.

Responding to the incident, a Weather Channel spokesman said: "It's important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted".

"We hope all our citizens will be safe, attentive to the situation around them and get through this storm with the least amount of difficulty", Player said.

"I know North Carolinians". El Super Taco was locked and the video store was empty. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said.

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