Hurricane Florence dumping ‘epic amounts of rainfall’ on Carolinas

Rivers approached record flood stage and more than 650,000 utility customers were without power Sunday as North Carolina was battered by Florence

Independent Tribune - WARNING: State says cyber attacks on the rise during Hurricane Florence.

As the United States dealt with Florence, a super typhoon swirled towards Hong Kong and the Chinese coast on Sunday, gaining in strength over the South China Sea after hurtling through the Philippines, where it wreaked havoc that killed at least 25.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia.

Homes have been washed away by storm surge or made unlivable by standing water, fallen trees or other debris.

Shortly after 7 a.m. ET Friday, Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, with winds for the Category 1 hurricane clocked at 90 miles per hour.

"It's just better for us to stay at home", she said.

"Know that water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don't typically flood".

Rainfall in historic Swansboro, a tourist town on the coast dubbed the "friendly city by the sea", had the highest measured rainfall total at a whopping 34 inches.

The city of about 29,000, which was founded in the early 1700s and was briefly the state capital, is near the North Carolina coast and is bordered on the east and south, respectively, by two rivers. "When power is out for extended periods of time, getting life back to normal is extremely difficult; it's hard to do numerous things we usually take for granted without power, like going to the ATM, find groceries, even charge our phones. We still have about 100 that want to be rescued and we have about 1,200 in the shelters", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN. Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said about 2,000 cubic yards of ash were displaced at the Sutton Plant and that contaminated storm water likely flowed into the plant's cooling pond.

The Florence death toll rose to 13 when authorities in SC revealed that a Horry County couple died from breathing in carbon monoxide from a power generator in their home.

Scores of neighbors faced similar damage after the water crested near the tops of their doorways.

"Currently, this only includes parts of North Carolina, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief", the IRS said in a statement.

Among the fatalities are a mother and her baby killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, by a falling tree, and an 81-year-old man who fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate in Wayne County, North Carolina. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, which has a population 200,000. The fifth was a woman who died from cardiac arrest in the town of Hampstead where some roads were blocked by uprooted trees.

Her father, 84-year-old Rembert Walters, says that if his relatives dispersed to different havens, he'd spend all his time worrying about them.

U.S. media later said a man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs.

Heavy rain is expected to continue in North and SC over the next few days.

About 760,000 customers are without power in North Carolina on Saturday.

The White House said Trump would visit hurricane-hit areas next week 'once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts'.

The military announced Saturday it was deploying almost 200 soldiers to assist in storm-related response and recovery efforts, along with 100 trucks and equipment. He made the declaration Friday.

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