Florence's Death Toll Stands at 15 as It Weakens to a Depression


Fourteen people are believed to have died in the storm.

The NHC 5am full advisory read: "At 500 AM EDT (0900 UTC), the center of Tropical Depression Florence was located near latitude 36.9 North, longitude 82.2 West".

Florence has been blamed for 13 deaths in the Carolinas. Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said "the numbers are all over the place" and "there's just too much blame going around".

Around 50 stranded people were airlifted by helicopter in North Carolina, said Petty Officer Michael Himes of the U.S. Coast Guard.

In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina. The boat washed up with storm surge and debris from Hurricane Florence.

In the past year, Florence marks the third tropical system to set a new state rainfall record after Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Lane in Hawaii.

Florence also now stands as the sixth-highest tropical cyclone rainfall total across the US for records dating back to 1950.

Florence roared ashore near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday as a Category 1 storm. Some of the heavier bands have shifted toward Fayetteville, Charlotte and Raleigh.

As rivers keep rising and rains keep falling, the flooding will spread.

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One of the hardest hit cities in North Carolina was New Bern, a riverfront city not far from the coastline.

Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding is likely over the southern to central Appalachians from western North Carolina into western Virginia and eastern West Virginia.

The death toll from Hurricane Florence rose to eight on Saturday, local media said. "The risk is growing as well in the mountains, where rains could lead to unsafe landslides", he said.

Catastrophic floods raised the threat of dam breaks and landslides across the southeastern United States on Sunday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and billions of dollars in damage.

"Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina. but we're also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to OH as the system exits out", Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday. That would top the record-setting level of 23.51 feet reached during Floyd. Mandatory evacuations were issued for South Lumberton on Saturday.

Coast Guard Road leading to the south end of Emerald Isle is seen after Hurricane Florence hit Emerald Isle, N.C.

The Lumber River is rising faster than expected, officials said. Residents across North Carolina are still struggling to rebuild after devastating flooding during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Forty miles to the south, the tiny town of Pollocksville, population 300, found itself cut in two on Sunday afternoon after the River Trent burst its banks.

In New Bern, a riverfront city near North Carolina's coast, the storm tore away porch steps, splintered balconies and sent a yacht plowing into a garage that shattered like kindling.