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Tropical storm Florence dumps metres of rain on Carolinas
16 September 2018, 06:32 | Tara Lloyd
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Florence plowed into the Carolinas, knocking down trees, gorging rivers, dumping sheets of rain as it lumbered slowly inland before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc. The child's father was taken to a hospital.
Local authorities reported a death in Pender County when downed trees prevented emergency units from reaching a woman with a medical condition.
Two people died in Lenoir County.
USA media later said a man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs.
"We knew this was going to be a big storm, but it is going to be of epic proportions", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference in Raleigh.
On Thursday, Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds (193 km).
"This is still a catastrophic, life threatening storm", said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Center's Weather Prediction Center.
At 2300 EDT (0300 GMT), the NHC said Florence had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km), and was slowly drifting westward over SC.
After blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 miles per hour winds, Florence virtually parked itself much of the weekend atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore.
Florence weakened to a tropical depression early Sunday, but that was little consolation to residents in North Carolina who have seen over 2 feet rain and are now fearing major river flooding to start the week.
Members of the military, volunteer groups and first responders used boats and helicopters to rescue hundreds of people stranded in cars and homes.
Sustained winds were down to 35 miles per hour with the storm starting to speed up a little and move to the west at 8 miles per hour.
"They definitely need to be prepared." he said.
Authorities evacuate a family from rising waters caused by Florence, now a tropical storm in New Bern, N.C., on September 15, 2018. "If you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life". Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern in part to protect their house. However, as US Presidents Trump says, "fake news".
Parts of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC could see another foot or more of rain over the weekend, according to National Weather Service.
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Evacuations underway in North Carolina. Numerous evacuees took their pets.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said radar and rain gauges indicated some areas got as much as 2½ feet of rain, which he called "absolutely staggering".
"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them you are risking your life", Gov. Roy Cooper said. Trump planned a visit to the region next week.
It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 560km-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.
Saffo said it could be longer than two weeks before power is fully restored.
North Carolina officials said there had been at least seven storm-related fatalities in the state, with unconfirmed reports of a further three deaths.
Tropical Storm Florence is expected to creep slowly through SC over the weekend.
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