Hurricane Florence weakens to tropical depression

Hurricane Florence weakens to tropical depression

Hurricane Florence weakens to tropical depression

The father received injuries and were hospitalized for medical care.

- A woman who suffered cardiac arrest in Hampstead, in North Carolina's Pender County.

Three more people died in Duplin County, NC, due to flash flooding, according to a post on the sheriff department's Facebook page.

Two more people were killed in Lenoir County. TV station WNCN said the 78-year-old victim and was "trying to connect two extension cords outside in the rain".

Heavy rain is expected to continue in North and SC over the next few days.

One family riding out the storm in a cluster of homes on the outskirts of Lumberton was content to leave their fate in God's hands.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat.

A 61-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man died in Horry County, SC, after using a generator inside their home, according to WMBF.

Cumberland County's shelters were around half full, with a total capacity of around 1,225 people. Storm conditions could also lead to tornadoes and landslides, officials said.

More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 North Carolina shelters, such as churches, schools and a basketball arena.

Still, federal officials say there are too many Americans in vulnerable areas who lack flood insurance - even after storms such as Sandy, Matthew and Harvey caused widespread property damage and financial losses with storm surge and rainfall. It's a slow-moving storm, creeping westward at just 2 miles per hour on Saturday - not even as fast as the average person walks.

The eye of Florence directly struck Wrightsville Beach, NC, early Friday.

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However, officials fear the worst from Florence is yet to come.

Florence weakened to a tropical depression as it marched inland, unloading a powerful mix of wind and rain on the Carolinas after killing at least 13 people. Tens of thousands were ordered evacuated from communities along the state's steadily rising rivers - with the Cape Fear, Little River, Lumber, Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers all projected to burst their banks.

Still, there was some good news: Power outages in the Carolinas and Virginia were down to about 650,000 homes and businesses after reaching a high of about 910,000 as the hurricane plowed into the coast. In South and North Carolina evacuated residents of coastal areas is just over 1.5 million people.

Around 50 stranded people were airlifted by helicopter in North Carolina, said Petty Officer Michael Himes of the U.S. Coast Guard. A nuclear power plant in Brunswick, NC, shut down operations Friday.

Between 15 and 30 inches of rain have fallen in many locations in eastern North Carolina, according to the Weather Channel, and between 5 and 10 inches have fallen in northern SC. Newport, NC, "reported a rainfall total of nearly 24 inches as of midnight Saturday", the NHC said.

Forecasters say the slow speed and thick bands of rain will move into the Charlotte area throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

Despite the fact that Saturday is the "Florence" weakened to a tropical storm, the resulting floods and the continuing threat of new floods further complicate the task of the authorities North and SC.

Rainfall in North Carolina has broken a state record, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service. A turn toward the northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected today, followed by a turn toward the north and northeast with an additional increase in forward speed on Monday.

Hundreds of thousands of homes across North and SC are without power and tens of thousands of people are in emergency shelters. A state of emergency has been already declared in the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia.

It is feared that more communities could become deluged as the storm crawls west at only 2mph (3km/h). Roads and bridges may be washed away in some of the floods.

"This storm is still deadly and unsafe and it's expected to turn northward later today into Virginia and the mid-Atlantic", he said. It was downgraded to a tropical storm later Friday.

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