SC governor gives update on Florence response at 2:30 PM

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The figure included a woman and her baby killed when a tree fell on their house.

The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm, but warned it would dump as much as 76cm to 102cm of rain on the south-eastern coast of North Carolina and parts of north-eastern SC.

Four weather-related deaths have been reported in North Carolina.

Florence flattened trees, damaged buildings and crumpled roads.

But it continued to warn of "catastrophic" flooding from excessive rainfall. "People that are evacuating are wanting to come back (soon) and they're disregarding the flood impact, and there's going to be no power, no food".

An abandoned car's hazard lights continue to flash as it sits submerged in rising flood waters on Saturday morning after Florence struck Wilmington, N.C.

"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches". Though the popular North Carolina tourist destination seems to have been spared the worst of Florence's wrath, the islands still have some of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the world, almost an inch a year.

Hundreds were rescued in New Bern, a city of 30,000 at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. "We still have about 100 that want to be rescued and we have about 1,200 in the shelters", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN.

Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said about 2,000 cubic yards (1,530 cubic meters) of ash were displaced at the L. V. Sutton Power Station outside Wilmington and that contaminated runoff likely flowed into the plant's cooling pond. "Dangerous storm surge could also affect portions of the northeast coast of SC coast today".

"Some of our beloved bears have wandered away", city officials tweeted next to a picture of the statue.

Parts of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC could see another foot or more of rain over the weekend, according to National Weather Service.

In South Carolina, a 62-year-old woman died when her vehicle hit a tree that had fallen across a road in the town of Union.

Firefighters said the area had not been in the zone under evacuation orders. In Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said.

The White House said President Trump will tour areas affected by Florence next week, once it is determined that his visit will not disrupt rescue and recovery operations.

Florence has weakened into to tropical depression but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas. Disaster response efforts are underway. They are part of Cajun Navy which is an informal volunteer group set up after Hurricane Katrina.

Florence already has proven deadly with its almost nonstop rain, surging seawater and howling winds, and the threats are days from ending as remnants from what was a major hurricane swirl over the Carolinas.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 68 trillion litres of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

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