Death tolls climbs to 7 as Florence pours rain on the Carolinas

Death tolls climbs to 7 as Florence pours rain on the Carolinas

Death tolls climbs to 7 as Florence pours rain on the Carolinas

The death toll from the former hurricane has climbed to 11.

More than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet by the end of the weekend.

More than 900 people were rescued from rising floodwaters and 15,000 remained in shelters in the state, Cooper said.

As of 5pm, Florence was centred about 95km west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, inching west at 4km/h - not even as fast as a person walking.

A day after blowing ashore with 90 miles per hour (145 kph) winds, Florence practically parked itself over land all day long and poured on the rain.

As the storm center shifts further inland, counterclockwise rotation around the center of circulation will continue to pull in loads of tropical moisture from the Atlantic ocean and pushing up against the more rugged terrain of central and western North Carolina.

In its initial onslaught along the coast, Florence buckled buildings, deluged entire communities and knocked out power to more than 870,000 homes and businesses.

Authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7500 people living near the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 160km from the coast.

New evacuation orders from Tropical Storm Florence were issued today in and around the city of Fayetteville.

In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to reach people. More than 2.4 million people were evacuated from China's southern Guangdong province ahead of the massive typhoon, the strongest to hit the region in almost two decades.

A pet dog licked Johan Mackie's face after he helped rescue Kevin Knox's family from their flooded brick home.

"Amazing. They did awesome", said Knox, who was stranded with seven others, including a boy who was carried out in a life vest.

"We were stir-crazy from being inside so long", Moore said. "I have no idea".

In New Bern, about 90 miles northeast of Wilmington at the confluence of two rivers, Florence overwhelmed the town of 30,000 and left the downtown area under water.

Along the Lumber River in Lumberton, workers used heavy machinery to dump extra sand on a railbed prone to flooding. A 73-mile stretch of the highway closed Saturday because of flooding and an accident involving a tractor-trailer.

A woman and her baby were among the first casualties, when a tree fell on their house, contributing to a death toll that the US media said had reached 13-10 in North Carolina and three in SC, according to CNN. SC recorded its first death from the storm when officials said a 61-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle hit a tree that had fallen across a highway.

As of noon, Emerald Isle had more than 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain, and Wilmington and Goldsboro had about a foot (30 centimeters).

North Carolina and SC each had modest gains in flood insurance policies, but coverage gaps remain.

As the water levels rise, dire rescues are ongoing.

In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people about 90 miles inland, 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.

"This is still a catastrophic, life threatening storm", said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Center's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. Schools canceled, postponed, switched sites or changed kickoff times because of Florence.

Up to 40 inches (102 cm) of rain are expected along coastal areas of the Carolinas and up to 10 inches in southwestern Virginia, it said.

The storm is expected to move northeastward Monday and across the southern part of New England on Tuesday.

In one piece of good news, authorities said 16 wild ponies of hurricane-struck Ocracoke Island, located off the North Carolina coast, were safe.

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