Eight Killed as Florence Dumps 'Epic' Rain on Carolinas

Weatherman Battles Hurricane Florence As 2 Guys Casually Walk By

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A couple of tornadoes are still possible through Sunday in North Carolina and northeastern SC, the NHC said.

Doll said residents near the Cape Fear River should expect major floods by Monday.

As Florence first broke on land yesterday 90mph winds struck the coastal areas, but as the storm system moved across land it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm. Some other parts of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said.

More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena.

As of Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center announced that Florence is now a tropical storm with maximum wind speeds of 45 miles per hour and said heavy rains and catastrophic flooding will continue across portions of North and SC.

The Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles Saturday to rescue hundreds of people trapped by Florence's onslaught, even as North Carolina braced for what could be the next stage of the disaster: widespread, catastrophic flooding inland.

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There have been seven storm-related deaths since Florence, then a Category-1 hurricane, made landfall Friday morning.

A mother and baby died when a tree crashed into their home, the Wilmington Police Department saidon TwitterFriday afternoon.

A 78-year-old man in Kinston, North Carolina, was electrocuted when he tried to connect two extension cords outside in the rain, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail.

Strong winds have got nothing on this tough guy. In the state´s Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

The center of the storm is hovering over eastern SC, after making landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday.

For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 840,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.

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Environmentalists have been warning for decades that Duke's coal ash ponds were vulnerable to severe storms and pose a threat to drinking water supplies and public safety.

"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.

The total extent of devastation from Florence, which has turned from a hurricane into a tropical storm, remains unknown as rain and flooding continue to wreak havoc in the Carolinas. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

The Washington Post reports that, according to preliminary reports submitted to the National Weather Service, Florence's 30 inches of rainfall in North Carolina has broken the statewide rainfall record set by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 of 24.06 inches.

With the center of the storm still at sea early Friday, scores of residents had to be rescued from homes and the tops of cars in New Bern, North Carolina.

"For overall damage it will be hard at the end of the day, I think, to find a rival for this storm", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. "Nobody expected this", a rescued resident, Tom Ballance, toldThe Weather Channel.

Zooming out to the full projection, shown above, the core of the storm is slated to enter North Carolina around 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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23 aviation rescues, and counting.

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