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Toll in US storm increases to 13

16 September 2018

In Washington, North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods.

The deadly storm made landfall on the east coast of the U.S. on Friday bringing with it "biblical" flooding on what's been described as a "thousand-year rain event".

Florence crashed ashore Friday morning in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, and it has wiped out power to about 796,000 customers in that state and SC, reports CNN.

The monster storm could dump drenching rains of up to one meter.

The death toll attributed to Florence stands at seven Saturday, six in North Carolina and one in SC.

Major flooding was also expected to the east in Kinston on the Neuse River, expected to reach 27 feet by Monday, nearing a record 28.3 feet set during Hurricane Matthew.

Relief will not come quickly.

A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at 105 miles per hour (nearly 170 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958. The rivers are in most cases several days from cresting.

This is the weird moment a TV weatherman appeared to be caught faking his battle against gale-force winds during Storm Florence.

Almost three feet of rain has fallen on portions of North Carolina, a reported record for the state for rainfall from a single storm. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. "We still have about 100 that want to be rescued and we have about 1,200 in the shelters", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN. "We all know that".

With the center of the storm still at sea early Friday, scores of residents had to be rescued from homes and the tops of cars in New Bern, North Carolina.

"The main thing right now is to get this water pumped down" from the city, he said. "It's making it hard for us to move valuable resources to areas in need".

Scores of residents had to be rescued from flooding by emergency responders and volunteers in New Bern, North Carolina, on Saturday. In South Carolina, some 36,000 customers are without power, officials said. But thousands of buildings were damaged in destruction Roberts called "heart-wrenching".

Sixty-seven-year-old Sadie Marie Holt was among those rescued Friday.

Strong winds have got nothing on this tough guy. "Houses. Trees", Holt said.

North Carolina has been declared a disaster zone, with flooding expected to worsen in some areas.

At least 4 people killed, including mother and baby.

In Lenoir County, North Carolina a person died while plugging in a generator. And a 77-year-old man died when he was knocked over by wind, he said. A 61-year-old woman died Friday night when her auto struck a tree that fell during the storm, state emergency officials said. It's about 90 miles northeast of Wrightsville Beach, where Florence made landfall at 7:15 a.m. September 14. "Be extremely careful and stay alert".

Evacuations underway in North Carolina. Duke Energy said late Friday that it anticipates 1 million to 3 million outages in the Carolinas, and that full power restoration could take weeks.

"I can not overstate it: flood waters are rising".

Usually hurricanes this far north deliver their punch and quickly leave town. It continues to chug west, slowing down from 5 miles per hour to 2 miles per hour.

SC has reported its first death from Florence.

The coast has been battered, and the mountains appear to be next.

In Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 on North Carolina's Atlantic coastline, along the Cape Fear River that is home to historic mansions, streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris.

"If you live in a floodplain and planned on staying, you might need to reevaluate", said Joel Cline, a North Carolina native and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.

About 760,200 of those customers are North Carolina; 36,200 are in SC. Florence could add another six to 10 inches of rainfall this weekend.

Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order lifting evacuation orders for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and the Edisto Beach area of Colleton County effective at noon Saturday. More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide.

West-central Virginia into far eastern West Virginia, north of Roanoke and west of Charlottesville, 3 to 6 inches, isolated 8 inches.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this story. Flash flooding is a threat in those states as well.

Toll in US storm increases to 13