Hurricane Florence Prompts Mandatory Evacuations in Fayetteville, NC Area

Florence death toll at 17 including 3-month-old

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.

Tropical Storm Florence on Saturday continued its slow-moving path across SC, dumping heavy rain that caused catastrophic flooding in the state and in North Carolina.

Florence was downgraded from a hurricane soon after it made landfall on the USA east coast.

Data show that even with the increase in flood insurance coverage over the past year, the number of homes covered is down 3 percent in North Carolina and 6 percent SC compared with five years ago. His state has already endured record rainfall, with much more forecast to come. Inland rivers are expected to rise to unsafe levels over the next few days.

"I still have power and it has been raining on and off with wind around 20 miles per hour", said Mr. O'Brien, a Bronx native who's lived in North Carolina for five years. In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people some 90 miles (145 km) from the ocean, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by Sunday afternoon because of the flood risk. And if those shelters fill up, he said, the state will open up more.

Florence has weakened into to tropical depression but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas.

"More significant weakening is forecast on Saturday as Florence moves farther inland over central SC", the NHC said on Thursday.

In the disaster area in North Carolina, where on 7 September declared a state of emergency, turned out to be about 500 thousand people.

CNN also reported a man and a woman died in South Carolina's Horry County due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina, the White House said Saturday. Trump, who plans to visit the region this week, tweeted his condolences to the families and friends of those who died.

Florence made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, even as it continued to wreak havoc along the East Coast, downing trees and power lines and forcing 20,000 people to flee to shelters. "If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, then you need do things like notify your legal next of kin, because the loss of life is very, very possible".

"The worst is yet to come", he added.

Florence made landfall Friday morning in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, and it has wiped out power to about 796,000 customers in that state and SC, reports CNN.

Over in Calabash, just outside of the coast, Timothy D. Yando, from Malone, said his house didn't lose power until Friday morning. Dozens of electric fix trucks massed to respond to damage expected to hit central North Carolina as rainwater collected into rivers headed to the coast. Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said about 2,000 cubic yards of ash were displaced at the Sutton Plant and that contaminated storm water likely flowed into the plant's cooling pond.

"If it goes up to my front step, I have to get out", Quinton Washington said.

Officials had warned before the storm rains could taint waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence broke a North Carolina rainfall record that had stood for nearly 20 years: Preliminary reports showed Swansboro got over 30 inches and counting, obliterating the mark set in 1999, when Hurricane Floyd dropped just over 24 inches on the state.

Florence may dump as many as 18 inches of more rain before she's finished. Floodwaters from other areas poured into the rivers upstream. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.

Flooding already is so bad in North Carolina that the state transportation department is telling people not to travel in the state.

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