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Florence causes near-record rain totals, river flooding in NC

18 September 2018

Fears of what could be the worst flooding in the state's history led officials to order tens of thousands to evacuate, though it was not clear how many had fled or even could. Weary, drenched coastal cities were scenes of daring rescues.

Rescuers freed six dogs that were locked up in an outdoor cage in North Carolina during Hurricane Florence, as the water level was rapidly rising.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, four straight days and nights of pounding rain have caused one local river to overflow its banks, eroding Highway 40.

"Our roads are flooded", said Woody White, chairman of the board of commissioners of New Hanover County.

Some stream gauges used to monitor river levels failed when they became submerged, but others showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest at or near record levels.

But so far, the North Carolina Attorney General's office has received more than 500 complaints.

"The mammoth amounts of rain observed in southern North Carolina are virtually certain to eclipse anything measured in an East Coast tropical cyclone north of Florida", noted Bob Henson of the Weather Underground.

"Just ran right into it, didn't see what was ahead of me at all", said Doug Nickerson of Wilmington, N.C., after driving his vehicle into flood waters. "We want you home, but you can't come yet".

Over 450,000 homes and businesses in North and SC were still without power on Monday evening, down from a peak of almost 1 million outages.

US President Donald Trump - who may visit North Carolina in the coming days - has declared a disaster in several North Carolina counties, freeing up federal funding for recovery efforts.

"We're going to need significant resources to recover", Cooper, the North Carolina governor, said.

Power companies are working to restore power to the almost half a million homes and businesses in both states that are still without electricity. The woman had driven around barricades to reach a closed road, the sheriff's office in Union County, near North Carolina's border with SC, said on Facebook.

The storm has begun to move into Virginia and West Virginia, and is expected to turn toward New England on Tuesday.

"We know the road situation is dynamic".

Thirty roads remained impassable, Dana Outlaw said, with 4,200 homes and more than 300 commercial buildings damaged, 6,000 people left without power and 1,200 in shelters.

The death toll climbed by two as authorities found the body of a 1-year-old boy who was swept away after his mother drove into floodwaters and lost her grip on him while trying to get back to dry land.

Two men in their 70s died in Lenoir County.

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Florence causes near-record rain totals, river flooding in NC