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Florence slammed into the North Carolina coast as a large hurricane Friday, dumping almost three feet (1 meter) of rain and swelling the region's rivers. But its slow march over the two states, crawling west at only 2 miles per hour (3 km per hour), is expected to leave large parts of the region deluged in the coming days.
The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday (September 15), then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.
Hurricane Florence is tearing through the Carolinas with disastrous flooding and record-setting rainfall.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion litres) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.
As it made landfall on the USA southeast coast on Friday, Florence buckled buildings, flooded entire communities and left more than 900,000 homes and businesses without power.
"This is one of the most devastating hurricanes we've ever had", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN.
In Goldsboro, North Carolina, home of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, roads that frequently flood were already closed Saturday by rushing water.
North Carolina officials have reported at least seven storm-related fatalities with unconfirmed reports of a further three deaths.
Strong winds and heavy rain continue to present a danger, and Florence is now being attributed to several deaths.
The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help. Although more than $740 million in federal, state and local funds have been spent to address Matthew's damages, state officials are still working to distribute $236 million allocated by the federal government previous year to help reimburse or pay for extensive home repairs.
Ex-hurricane Florence's top sustained winds have weakened to 80-kilometres-per-hour but it's projected to bring further catastrophic flash flooding.
The hurricane, downgraded Friday afternoon to a tropical storm, was blamed by authorities for at least five deaths as of late in the day.
Firefighters said the area had not been in the zone under evacuation orders.
"The worst is yet to come", he added.
He said that on Saturday morning, the floodwaters around his home had dropped, leaving a multitude of trees and other debris in their wake.
Utility crews worked to restore electricity even as flood waters inundated whole communities. Sutton was retired in 2013 and the company has been excavating ash to remove to safer lined landfills.
Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.
Over 100 people remain trapped in New Bern, a town on the Neuse River which has been hit hard by rain and flooding. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.
"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern to a hotel some 80 miles (130 km) away.
SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area.
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