North Carolina still bracing for Florence disasters

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At 5 a.m. Sunday, Florence was about 20 miles (35 kilometers) southwest of Columbia, South Carolina.

Still, there was some good news: Power outages in the Carolinas and Virginia were down to about 580,000 homes and businesses after reaching a high of about 910,000 as the hurricane plowed into the coast.

"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. Six people died in SC, including four in auto accidents and two from carbon monoxide from a portable generator. These nine aircraft will be deployed to Myrtle Beach to begin operating in affected areas of North Carolina Sunday.

Firefighters arrive at a home where a large tree fell on that had three people trapped, after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Duke Energy says heavy rains from Florence caused a slope to collapse at a coal-ash landfill at a closed power station near the North Carolina coast.

By Saturday morning, the situation was even more desperate, with descriptions becoming much stronger, and the situation along the Carolina coastal towns more risky.

Scores of neighbors faced similar damage after the water crested near the tops of their doorways.

Extensive damage was caused because the storm moved slowly. The IRS took similar measures for those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey past year. Lane just last month dropped a maximum of 52.02 inches of rain in Hawaii, breaking the state record.

Dawn Baldwin Gibson, 47, a minister and private school founder who lives on a farm closer to the coast in nearby Pamlico County and runs a Facebook page about weather in eastern North Carolina, had evacuated to New Bern to stay with family, thinking it would be a safer spot.

Florence also now stands as the sixth-highest tropical cyclone rainfall total across the USA for records dating back to 1950.

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 before Sunday is out. Some of the heavier bands have shifted toward Fayetteville, Charlotte and Raleigh. A portion of the region's major highway, Interstate 95, was shut down from exit 65 to exit 81.

An additional 6 to 10 inches of rain is still possible along the southeast border of North Carolina and SC.

He urged against residents attempting to return home, warning that "all roads in the state are at risk of floods".

In the Fayetteville area, John Rose owns a furniture business with stores less than a mile away from the Cape Fear River. Major river flooding is expected on some rivers from southern Virginia to northern SC, including most of North Carolina. Now, workers are racing against rising flood waters to shore up the city's main levee system before the river crests.

The program was used in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Storm surge will be relentless, not because of record wind speeds, but due to unprecedented duration.

More than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, hours after then-Hurricane Florence swept through, but another 140 were still waiting for help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told The Associated Press. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund posted a Facebook update Saturday saying the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs were "doing their normal thing - grazing, socializing, and wondering what us insane humans are all worked up over". With half of the storm still out over the Atlantic, Florence continued to collect warm ocean water and dump it on land.

As it moves near OH and West Virginia, it will become a remnant low.