Florence expected to weaken as flood risk rises

Killer storm far from over US officials warn as'epic rain falls

The figure included a woman and her baby killed when a tree fell on their house. The child's father was taken to a hospital.

Authorities also confirmed a 78-year-old man's body was found outside by family after being electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

A woman in Hampstead, in Pender County, died of an apparent heart attack after emergency crews could not clear debris to get to her.

Winds have dropped to about 40 miles per hour (65 kph) since it roared ashore along the USA mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane and it is crawling west over two states at 6 mph (9 kph), the National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Sunday. But Florence, a Category 1 when it hit, already had pounded coastal areas for hours. That, and the storm's vast circumference of hundreds of miles, means Wilmington will be inundated with rain, the advisory said.

A pet dog licked Johan Mackie's face after he helped rescue Kevin Knox's family from their flooded brick home. People were stuck in their cars, attics and rooftops, waiting for rescuers in boats.

Video footage shot during the tropical storm shows what appears to be two dolphins swimming in the rising storm surge water.

"It has slowed", he said. "We can pump 42,000 gallons (159,000 litres) a minute once we have water receded enough".

The National Hurricane Center said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation. Cruise ships have diverted to Florida away from the storm's path, and some hotels are offering special discounts for evacuees.

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

"Right now we've rescued over 400 people". Hughes said the vehicle's roof is what struck the tree.

Power outages increased throughout Friday.

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On Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Triangle is under a flash flood warning until 8 p.m. Sunday.

He said the storm had killed at least five people, but there were fears that number could rise. "And then we will shift into putting our communities back together".

Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain.

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018. The highway could be flooded near Fayetteville and near the SC state line because of expected flooding in the Cape Fear and Lumber rivers. "We're asking people, please stay off the streets unless it is an absolute emergency", he said. Bermuda and parts of the east coast will also be experiencing "life-threatening surf and rip currents".

Cooper warned: "Don't drive through water, no matter how confident you feel or how much you want to get out of the house". National Hurricane Center meteorologist Joel Cline said the mountains will wring water out of the moist tropical air: "It's like running into a wall, and that moisture has to go somewhere, and it goes up, creates rain, and you have torrential rain in that area".

More than 20,000 people were in 157 shelters in North Carolina, with almost 6,000 in SC shelters, officials said. More than a dozen major rivers in the Carolinas and southern Virginia are forecast by the National Weather Service to reach flood stage, and some - including the Neuse, Pamlico, Lumber, Waccamaw, Northeast Cape Fear and the Pee Dee rivers - are expected to set flood records.

Others who chose to stay at home perhaps regretted their decision.

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.

Horry County officials told The Sun News that emergency personnel are still responding to calls and never stopped. Additional swiftwater rescue teams were on the way.

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