At least five people have died as Tropical Storm Florence slowly crept westward over the Carolinas Saturday, dumping massive amounts of water on the region.
Florence made landfall 10 miles east of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday morning as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds.
"North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned in a briefing Saturday morning that more people in the state are in danger now than when Florence made landfall there on Friday".
Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.
The huge levels of rainfall are a result of the storm surge created by the risky tropical weather, which has claimed the lives of 11 people. Many dunes appeared not to have sizeable damage, and harbors were empty, with just a few boats scattered about.
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The latest three North Carolina deaths were linked to flash flooding and swift water on roads in Duplin County, the local sheriff's department said.
USA media later said a man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs.
The Navy says nearly 30 Virginia-based ships and 128 aircraft sent away from their bases in the Hampton Roads-area because of now-Tropical Storm Florence have been given the go-ahead to return.
"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference.
North Carolina utilities estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said. Gusts reached over 100 miles per hour - the highest recorded in North Carolina since 1958. Floodwaters submerged U.S. Highway 264, cutting off a major route to other flood-prone areas along the river and the adjacent Pamlico Sound. "It's making it hard for us to move valuable resources to areas in need".
Coastal Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds will likely become bottlenecks, filling with runoff faster than they can drain into the ocean, he said.
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North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had about 7 inches.
Scores of residents had to be rescued from flooding by emergency responders and volunteers in New Bern, North Carolina, on Saturday. "Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days".
Cline said July was the wettest ever in that part of North Carolina, and the water table rose 21 inches higher than normal.
Firefighters said the area had not been in the zone under evacuation orders.
Non-profit groups are preparing to serve tens of thousands of meals daily in the most-damaged areas, while state and federal emergency officials are locating temporary housing, including hotel rooms, for storm victims in the weeks or months that they're displaced. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".
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