At least 4 dead as slow moving Florence terrorizes Carolinas

Credit PA

Credit PA

A mother and her eight-month-old baby were killed Friday when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from police in Wilmington, N.C. The father was transported to a hospital for treatment.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

In Fayetteville and Wilmington, officials said more evacuations were possible as the Cape Fear River continues to rise above record heights. It blew ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump an "epic" amount of rainfall on the USA state.

Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm with diminished winds, but it has stalled over the Wilmington region as predicted and will continue drenching the area with historic and catastrophic rain, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. briefing.

Although it has been downgraded to a tropical storm, slow-moving Florence is already blasting North and SC with torrential rain and severe floods.

The NHC said Florence had the potential to dump historic amounts of rain on North and SC, as much as 40 inches (one meter) in some places.

The White House says President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina and that will make federal money available to people in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm as it moved further inland in the days ahead.

The storm is expected to turn west and then north moving through the Carolinas and the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said early on Saturday. The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach.

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Roads became flooded, trees blown over and homes destroyed as some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges of flood water as high as 10ft. Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats. "Florence's 18 trillion gallons is as much water as there is in the entire Chesapeake Bay", its article says.

Florence is expected to dump 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on USA soil, meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted.

Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 meter).

Super Typhoon Mangkhut tore through the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday packing winds of more than 200 km per hour (124 mph) along with torrential rain, killing three people and causing floods, landslides and power outages.

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.

Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighbourhood during Florence's assault.

"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard". But there are still untold numbers of people who are still in their homes - and they may need help soon.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and were left shaken. Local media said she suffered a heart attack.

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