Deadly Tropical Storm Florence brings 'epic' amount of rain to US

CBS News

CBS News

Florence has already set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths.

They have made clear that this event is all about the water - which the storm has delivered in devastating quantity.

So far: almost 32.5 inches (82.5 centimeters) of rain was reported in Oriental, North Carolina. As the storm sat along the edge of the Atlantic, some stretches along the coastal Carolinas received close to 20 inches of rain. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. Then, once the remnants of the tempest reach the higher terrain of the southern Appalachians, flash floods, mudslides and debris flows. The rivers are in most cases several days from cresting.

Florence now huge, slow-moving tropical storm.

Christy Hall, South Carolina's state secretary of transportation, on Saturday announced plans to build two emergency dams as rainfall is expected to flood routes leading into Horry County, where Myrtle Beach is located. "We have started to see the water recede".

"This is one of the most devastating hurricanes we've ever had", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN.

The governor of North Carolina on Saturday, September 15 warned residents displaced by a killer storm against returning home because of the dangers posed by rising floodwaters.

View of Florence in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.

"The shelves are pretty empty, and we don't expect our first truck until Sunday, maybe, if they can get through", she said.

"If you live in a floodplain and planned on staying, you might need to reevaluate", said Joel Cline, a North Carolina native and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.

The number of service members deployed include 7,500 from the US Coast Guard and 6,500 from the National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.

"Maybe the communities of color that are expected to feel the greatest burden of a disaster like this don't have time to have a conversation like this with the media because they're fighting for their lives, they're fighting for their very survival", she said.

Sixty-seven-year-old Sadie Marie Holt was among those rescued Friday.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday.

In New Bern, at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000.

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", city public information officer Colleen Roberts said.

As Hurricane Storm Florence lashed through the Carolinas with howling winds and heavy rain, one reporter was captured attempting to keep it together as winds appeared to lash at him, but was mocked when two people were seen walking behind him with little difficulty.

"I don't see any portion of the state of North or SC that's not going to be impacted in some way", said Cline.

"Know that water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don't typically flood". That could affect the infrastructure, bridges, residences, farms and other buildings, Dahler said.

University of Miami hurricane expert Brian McNoldy said there are too many ever-changing factors that make it hard to blame climate change specifically. "Be extremely careful and stay alert".

Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks.

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