Deadly Florence trudges inland in Carolinas with `epic` rain, flooding; 5 dead

CBS News

CBS News

Nakisa Glover, a National Climate Justice Fellow at Hip Hop Caucus based in North Carolina, said in a phone interview that while the mandatory evacuation orders might make "logical sense in theory, if you don't have the resources, you can't just leave your home in a lot of cases".

Storm Florence may have weakened but the full extent of the damage it has wreaked may not become clear for days. But its progress had slowed to a crawl of 5 miles per hour.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. Its winds were down to 45 miles per hour (75 kph).

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

"You can walk faster than this storm is moving", said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. Along coastal communities, people trapped in homes by relentless flood waters awaited rescue, and tens of thousands hunkered down in shelters after fleeing their homes as the storm approached.

Even though Florence was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, it's still considered risky and could be deadly for anyone in its path.

The Trump administration has stepped up arrests of people living in the country illegally, but during this storm they say they won't enforce immigration laws unless there's a serious public safety threat.

Hurricane Florence delivered a slow-motion assault to the coast of North Carolina early Friday, with catastrophic storm surge and torrential rains that will continue for days. North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had around 7 inches.

SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area. The eye moved from sea to land at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

SC has reported its first death from Florence. More than 26,000 hunkered down in shelters.

"Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

Cooper also requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called "historic major damage" across the state.

"Remember most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars".

Prisoners were affected, too.

At a briefing, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the risk of fatality will only grow when people venture out once the winds die down.

According to Doll, many areas in North Carolina are seeing somewhere between 10 and 20 inches of rain.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers. His state has already endured record rainfall, with much more forecast to come.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door to door to pull more than 60 people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday.