Florence weakens to depression, flood risk rises

Florence weakens to depression, flood risk rises

Florence weakens to depression, flood risk rises

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, swept through the Carolinas on Friday, knocking out power to almost a million homes and businesses and causing multiple deaths.

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing.

NCDOT also said drivers who would otherwise travel through the state are being detoured entirely around the state, and identifying detours around Interstates 95, 40, 85, 77 and 26 is becoming increasingly hard as the storm continues moving westward.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is reopening the state's government next week, but state officials are warning that the danger of significant flooding will persist.

"What we want to try to do is to minimize the time that people spend in their shelters that they're in right now", Sprayberry said.

A 16-mile stretch of a main highway out of the area, I-95, was shutdown due to severe flooding. If the river gets higher than 26 feet, "all bets are off", city public works deputy director Corey Walters said. Electricity remained out for much of the city, known for its historic mansions, with power lines lying across roads like wet strands of spaghetti. Parts of southeastern North Carolina could see up to 40 inches before the rain ends Monday.

"There is flooding "everywhere in the city", he said".

In Gaston County, a three-month-old boy died when a large pine tree fell across a mobile home, police said.

Florence was drifting westward over SC, reaching about 25 miles southeast of Columbia S.C.at 2 a.m. Sunday, the NHC said.

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It had weakened to a tropical depression by Sunday, but was forecast to drop another 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) of rain in North Carolina, bringing rainfall totals in some inland areas to 15 to 20 inches and over 30 inches (76 cm) closer to the coast, according to the National Hurricane Centre.

The Northeast Cape Fear River, near Chinquapin, North Carolina, will rise above record flood levels set by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Fort Bragg, a sprawling U.S. Army base, is just west of Fayetteville. Storm conditions could also lead to tornadoes and landslides, officials said.

Officials in SC said a 61-year-old woman died when her auto struck a tree that had fallen across a highway near the town of Union.

The storm has already led to floods in several regions of South and North Carolina.

Some cities in the Carolinas have received 30 inches of rain, Ken Graham, the head of the National Hurricane Center told The New York Times.

Evidence of Hurricane Florence's wrath was sprawled across the lawn of the Patty and Philip Urick's home on the Neuse River, all but destroyed by violent flooding. It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wilmington.

Storm Florence will be reclassified again as a tropical depression as it continues through OH and New England by the middle of the week. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

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.

Flood waters had receded, and her husband was able to return home to retrieve their vehicle, blankets, food and clothing, Moore said. "But they will. And the question is how high will the water be, and we do not know".

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