Florence's heavy rains cause flooding across Carolinas; 17 killed in storm

Florence's heavy rains cause flooding across Carolinas

(RNN) - As it moves north, Tropical Depression Florence continues to dump rain on North and South Carolina in already-flooded areas, where 17 deaths have been reported.

The death toll from Florence rose to at least 17 fatalities Sunday, according to the Associated Press. Eleven of those deaths were in North Carolina, and six were in South Carolina.

Two children – one 3 months old in Dallas, NC, and the other 8 months old in Wilmington, NC – were killed when trees fell on their respective homes. The 8-month-old's mother was also killed.

Flooding has caused several other deaths, including that of a driver in Lexington County, SC, who lost control of his pickup truck and hit a tree Sunday morning and that of a man who died when a pickup flipped into a drainage ditch in Georgetown County, NC.

Three more people died in Duplin County, NC, Saturday afternoon due to flash flooding, WECT reported.

Another man in Kershaw County, SC, died when his pickup truck went off the road and struck an overpass support beam, according to WIS.

Two 78-year-old men were killed in Lenoir County, NC. One was electrocuted while outside in the rain, and the other is believed to have been blown down while going outside to check on his dogs, CNN reported.

A 61-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man died in Horry County, SC, Friday night after using a generator inside their home, according to WMBF.

A woman died in Hampstead, NC, after suffering a medical emergency, WECT reported.

Officials fear that with increased flooding – many rivers are not expected to crest until Monday or later – the death count may rise.

Florence continues to dump heavy rain over North Carolina, northeastern South Carolina and western Virginia, according to the National Weather Service. Historic and likely catastrophic flooding is expected.

As of 5 a.m. ET Monday, the storm was located 125 miles west-southwest of Roanoke, VA, and had sustained winds of 30 miles per hour, according to the NWS. It was moving north-northeast at 13 miles per hour.

The city of Wilmington, NC, is completely cut off by floodwaters and officials are asking for additional help from state law enforcement and the National Guard, according to the Associated Press. They are looking to transport food into the city via air or high-water vehicles.

More than 900 people in North Carolina were rescued from swift waters by Sunday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference. Further rescues are ongoing.

North Carolina issued warnings to drivers traveling down I-95 from Virginia to bypass the state, instead going west to Tennessee, CNN reported.

Dams and levees throughout North Carolina are in danger of failing.

Flash flood warnings are in effect across a large portion of southern and western North Carolina and parts of northeast South Carolina and southwest Virginia, according to the NWS.

More than 25 inches of rain has already fallen in parts of North Carolina, and more than 15 inches of rain has fallen in parts of South Carolina. The mid-Atlantic states and southern New England are expected to receive more than 6 inches of rain, according to the NWS.

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

More than 400,000 households in North Carolina and 20,000 in South Carolina are without power, according to state officials.

More than 15,000 people are at shelters in North Carolina, according to CNN.

Five people were arrested Saturday in Wilmington, NC, after a looting incident at a Family Dollar store, WECT reported.

The flooding of coal ash dumps and hog farms in North Carolina has raised concerns about pollution, according to the Associated Press.

Forecasters with the NWS expect Florence to move northeastward Monday and east across the southern part of New England on Tuesday.

The storm made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, NC, around 7:40 a.m. ET Friday as a Category 1 hurricane. It was downgraded to a tropical storm later Friday then to a tropical depression early Sunday.

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