Millions face Florence floods after 'epic' rainfall in Carolinas

'And numerous rivers will see prolonged flooding, some not cresting for a few days'.

Downgraded overnight to a tropical depression, Florence was still massive.

"This is still a catastrophic, life-threatening storm", said Mr Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Center's Weather Prediction Center. "And numerous rivers will see prolonged flooding, some not cresting for a few days". Flash flood watches extended all the way to Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and southern New England.

In Swansboro, North Carolina, almost 34 inches of rain had fallen by Sunday afternoon and 20 other places in North Carolina had at least 20 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

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

"I can not overstate it: floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them you are risking your life", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

On a flooded road near New Bern, Bryan Moore and his nephew Logan made a decision to go swimming in the floodwaters after having spent days at home without electricity or running water.

"Florence's center will move across the western Carolinas today and then recurve over the Ohio Valley and Northeast U.S. Monday and Tuesday", the NHC reports.

Some Carolinians were relieved that the storm was pushing out, despite the continued threat of flooding from rivers. "If those shelters fill up, we will establish more shelters", Cooper said. "Last time we had sun was on Wednesday".

Further to the south, the weather forecasters are predicting an additional 10 to 15 centimeters of rain to fall in hardest hit area in southeastern North Carolina, where the storm dumped 75 to 100 centimeters of rain after crashing into the state's coastline on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

In many areas, the brief period of sun was wiped out by more rain but some evacuated residents were able to return to their homes to assess damage.

-A husband and wife died in a Fayetteville, North Carolina, house fire on Friday. Troopers said the truck struck an overpass support beam, and the driver died at the scene.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels steadily rising, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels. We are America's first responders.

Almost 800,000 homes in North Carolina are without power and more is expected with gusting winds and fallen trees. About 1.8 million customers were affected by the storm.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) said Sunday that the eastern part of the state has been significantly damaged following severe flooding and risky winds from Tropical Storm Florence. Two other people also died in storm-related wrecks, and two more people died from inhaling carbon monoxide from a generator in their home.

"Maximum sustained winds are near 30 miles per hour (45 km/h) with higher gusts".

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