Florence death toll climbs

Tropical Weather South Carolina

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.

Oliver Kelly, 1 year old, cries as he is carried off the sheriff's airboat during his rescue from rising flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Leland, North Carolina, U.S., September 16, 2018.

Between 15 and 30 inches of rain have fallen in many locations in eastern North Carolina, according to the Weather Channel, and between 5 and 10 inches have fallen in northern SC.

Hoffman, North Carolina, has seen 19.96 inches and Conway, South Carolina, has seen 8.68 inches - with two days of rainfall to come. "The risk to life is rising with the angry waters", Gov. Roy Cooper declared as the storm's death toll climbed to 17.

Near the flooded-out town of New Bern, where about 455 people had to be rescued from the swirling flood waters, water completely surrounded churches, businesses and homes.

North Carolina officials have reported at least seven storm-related fatalities with unconfirmed reports of a further three deaths.

Some residents said they chose to stay because many emergency shelters don't accept pets.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said. Fresh evacuations were ordered further inland as rivers crested and spilled out of their banks.

In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people about 90 miles inland, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes because of the flood risk.

The mayor of New Bern, North Carolina, says his city has imposed a curfew.

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.

The company says that Crisis Assist will include real-time directions to help you evacuate from or navigate through disaster areas; the service will also help find food, shelter, or medical supplies.

Flooding already is so bad in North Carolina that the state transportation department is telling people not to travel in the state.

On Saturday some residents tried to return to home, driving through flooded highways armed with chainsaws to clear fallen pine needle trees that covered the road. The whir of generators could be heard throughout the city, a sound not expected to dim soon as crews work to restore power.

More than 641,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in North and SC and surrounding states, down from a peak of almost 1 million. In Belville, just south of Leland, some shops had power restored on Sunday.

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. Local media said she suffered a heart attack. "If not, we'd be stuck upstairs for the next. how long?"

"Everybody rushed the doors - it got insane", said Detective Bill Ostrosky of the Wilmington Police Department.

Between 25 and 30 inches of rain has fallen in the area, causing widespread floods. It is expected to reach a level very near the record Hurricane Matthew set in 2016.

North Carolina and SC each had modest gains in flood insurance policies, but coverage gaps remain. The flooding could taint waterways with murky coal ash.

A 40-foot yacht lies in the yard of a storm-damaged home on East Front Street in New Bern, North Carolina on Saturday.

Weather forecasters have said the storm will eventually disintegrate over the southern Appalachians and its remnants will make a sharp rightward swing to the northeast, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of the week.

President Donald Trump said emergency workers and law enforcement officials were "working really hard".

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