Florence weakens to depression, flood risk rises

'Relentless rains' continue as Florence nearly stalls over Carolinas

The storm made landfall on Friday near Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 squeezed between North Carolina's Atlantic coastline and the Cape Fear River.

It is now a tropical storm with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore.

Schoolteacher Leslie Ochoa said she and her family loaded up 10 adults, 5 children, 14 goats, 10 dogs, two cats and one guinea pig and evacuated from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Columbia, South Carolina last Tuesday. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.

The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm climbed to at least five.

The North Carolina Baptist Men's organization planned to begin soon moving kitchen equipment inland, where they expect to prepare 85,000 meals a day when all its feeding operations are up and running.

Across the Carolinas, officials are sounding the alarm: More communities will flood as rivers collect water from upstream and spill over.

Florence flattened trees, damaged buildings and crumpled roads.

Weinmann, a 47-year-old retired Marine, bought the vehicle 10 years ago and used it to reach people who asked to be rescued Friday.

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On U.S. Route 401 nearby, rain rose in ditches and around unharvested tobacco crops along the road.

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018.

Rivers are rising on the north side of Hurricane Florence as the storm swirls counter-clockwise, pushing a surge of ocean water far in from the coast.

North Carolina must withstand more torrential rains, gusty winds, and river flooding from Tropical Storm Florence next week, but emergency leaders are already working on the recovery.

In Washington, North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods.

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"If you are safe, stay put".

Meanwhile, in SC, at least one gator seemed to be cool with the outer bands of wind and rain that whipped the Myrtle Beach area.

Wildlife also found itself directly affected by Florence's floodwaters, including these deer seen swimming through neck-deep water. Along with other home cleanup and fix work ministries, Frazier said his group works to "basically restore somebody back to where they were as much as we can".

Evacuation orders remain in place for Horry and Georgetown counties along South Carolina's northern coast.

The National Weather Service says the worst flooding will likely start Saturday night or Sunday morning and will continue for several days.

The storm made landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the gloom of dawn Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

What do we know of the victims?

"And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.

Perry says his department has been in contact with power companies and gas pipeline operators.

Two people also died in Harkers Island, North Carolina, on Friday, Carteret County Director of Emergency Services Stephen Rea said Saturday.

Water levels along the North and SC coasts are gradually receding as of Saturday night, the National Hurricane Center said.

That's just the number of customers without power in the Carolinas.

At 11am yesterday, the hurricane centre said Florence had maximum sustained winds near 75kph and continued to produce catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to go house to house to remove people.

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