Florence remains deadly, even as a tropical depression


About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

The Lumber River, near Lumberton, North Carolina, will rise into major flood stage Sunday morning.

In Wilmington, the state's eighth-largest city, residents waited for hours outside stores and restaurants for necessities such as water.

-Three people died in Duplin County, North Carolina, because of flash flooding and swift water on roadways.

- The death toll attributed to Florence stands at 17, including 11 in North Carolina and six in SC.

Members of the North Carolina Task Force urban search and rescue team wade through a flooded neighborhood looking for residents who stayed behind as Florence continues to dump heavy rain in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. That would top the record-setting level of 23.51 feet reached during Floyd.

Cutting off the coastal city of Wilmington, damaging tens of thousands of homes and filling river to bursting point, the storm has wreaked extensive damage on both North and SC despite rapid weakening.

Officials from New Hanover County and Wilmington said Sunday that additional rainfall Saturday night caused more problems for the area.

"The worst is yet to come", he added.

As it made landfall on the U.S. southeast coast on Friday, Florence buckled buildings, flooded entire communities and left more than 900,000 homes and businesses without power.

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About 532,338 of those power outages are in North Carolina, and 61,000 are in SC.

Authorities say the storm did not cause some other deaths that occurred during Florence in North Carolina: a woman who died of undetermined causes in a shelter, a woman who suffered a heart attack at home during the storm, and a couple whose apparent murder-suicide was investigated during hurricane conditions in Otway.

But one meteorologist said, "This is still a catastrophic, life-threatening storm".

Florence has shattered North Carolina's record for rainfall from a single storm, with more than 30 inches having fallen already.

Roads were closed and authorities warned of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled.

The flooding could taint waterways with murky coal ash.

Gaston County manager Earl Mathers said in an email to commissioners the tree fell on a mobile home Sunday in Dallas, about 240 miles west of where Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in Wrightsville Beach. The storm is tracked to move across the western Carolinas and then curve over the Ohio Valley on Monday and Tuesday.

President Donald Trump said federal emergency workers, first responders and law enforcement officials were "working really hard".

Trump, who plans to visit the region this week and he tweeted his "deepest sympathies and warmth" to the families and friends of those who died. Six people died in SC, including four in vehicle accidents and two from carbon monoxide from a portable generator.