Florence is no longer a hurricane, it’s a tropical depression, but by any name this devastating storm is far from over. Heavy rains continued to batter North Carolina and South Carolina relentlessly through the weekend and into this morning. The National Hurricane Center expects it to transition to an “extratropical cyclone” tomorrow and Wednesday.
- As of early this morning Eastern time, forecasters expected a total 40 inches of rain in the southern part of North Carolina and 20 inches in northern South Carolina and western North Carolina, with the potential for “catastrophic” flash flooding and significant river flooding.
- As the storm moves slowly on, 15 inches of rain were expected in southwest Virginia and five to 10 inches in the mid-Atlantic and New England states, with life-threatening flash floods and significant river flooding feared.
- Fayetteville, North Carolina Mayor Mitch Colvin yesterday bluntly warned residents to obey the mandatory evacuation or notify their next of kin.
The death toll in North Carolina and South Carolina has reached at least 16. More than 1,000 have been rescued from the floodwaters.
The National Weather Service continues to post updates as the storm continues.
The U.S. Coast Guard for the mid-Atlantic region warned that flooding will only get worse early this week in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
In Wilmington on Friday, a team of firefighters on rescue duty knelt and prayed for a mother and her infant who were killed by a falling tree. Their deaths were the first attributed to the hurricane. The father has been hospitalized.
The U.S. Coast Guard wound up with a boatload of beagles after rescuing more than a dozen puppies who barely had their noses above the water when they were found swimming in the floodwaters in Columbus County, North Carolina.