TN crews head to east coast for Florence

Hurricane turns deadly floods Carolinas

"As Tropical Storm Florence continues to move across North Carolina and parts of SC, the Coast Guard stands with our federal, state and local partners to help those in distress", said Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz.

Hurricane Florence is expected to travel through the east coast and may bring major river flooding in North and SC during the upcoming week, according to the National Weather Service.

Timothy D. Buckland, a former Watertown Daily Times reporter and current reporter at the Wilmington Star News, said more than 100 roads in his town have closed due to flooding or power lines and trees down.

Fayetteville city officials, meanwhile, got help from the Nebraska Task Force One search and rescue team to evacuate 140 residents of an assisted-living facility to a safer location at a church.

Cooper warned against such behavior as roads become increasingly risky.

As of 11:00 am (1500 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of unsafe storm surges and "catastrophic flash flooding". "Many rivers are still rising, and are not expected to crest until later today or tomorrow".

TROGDON: And the one thing I want to prevent is thousands of people stranded on our interstates or US routes with flooding events on each side, putting more burden on our first responders to be extracting thousands of people that use our roadways daily.

Up to 6 more inches of rain could fall in parts of North Carolina and Virginia from Sunday evening to Tuesday evening, forecasters said.

"We have 4,200 damaged homes", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN. "We can pump 42,000 gallons (159,000 liters) a minute once we have water receded enough". But thousands of buildings were damaged in destruction Roberts called "heart-wrenching".

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. A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling and hitting his head while packing to evacuate.

A woman and her baby were among the first casualties when a tree fell on their house, contributing to a death toll that U.S. media said had reached 13-10 in North Carolina and three in SC, according to CNN.

Firefighters said the area had not been in the zone under evacuation orders. When emergency responders tried to reach her, their path was blocked by fallen trees.

With another 18 to 24 hours of heavy rain predicted, locals said they have not seen a hurricane this bad since 1999, according to Mr. Buckland.

"We're just chasing the water", United Cajun Navy President Todd Terrell said Sunday.

Much of eastern North Carolina on Saturday was still reeling from Florence's first powerful punch. Trump is expected to visit the areas once the storm weakens and the conditions improve thereafter. As forecasters warned the hurricane could lead to potentially catastrophic flooding.

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.

The Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles on Saturday to rescue scores of people trapped by Florence's shoreline onslaught.

President Trump's disaster declaration for eight North Carolina counties frees up federal funding including grants for property repairs and low-priced loans to cover uninsured losses.

North Carolina Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said it was too early to estimate how many people in the state would be made homeless by the storm.

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