As Florence moves west, North Carolina prepares for recovery

As Florence moves west, North Carolina prepares for recovery

As Florence moves west, North Carolina prepares for recovery

"In general, prison systems and [South Carolina] in particular and [Lousiana] and others view prisoners as an expendable population and don't take the safety of them seriously or put a lot of stock in them", Wright said.

The state DOT said on its website that the two roads are expected to re-open by Monday morning.

"We're not going to stop until we reach all of these folks and get them to a safe shelter", Cotton told Good Morning America Saturday morning.

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

Mason Tarr said he spent the night at a friend's house but didn't sleep well.

It's the first death believed to have been caused by Florence in SC.

Tens of thousands of people evacuated from risky areas. Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six states, with North and SC in the bull's-eye.

Evacuation orders remain in place for Horry and Georgetown counties along South Carolina's northern coast.

Though downgraded to a tropical storm, the slow-moving Florence will continue to threaten more death and destruction as it crawls over the Carolinas and then moves inland and north over the coming days.

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday. More torrential rain will fall in that area today and Sunday.

The Florence center is crawling inland over SC, but its main rain bands are hitting already-saturated North Carolina - setting up what may be days of flooding for some communities. With rivers swelling toward record levels, thousands of people were ordered to evacuate for fear the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

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Woody White, chairman of the board of commissioners of New Hanover County, said officials were planning for food and water to be flown into the coastal city of almost 120,000 people. Flood stage is 18 feet. The previous record, 17.45 inches, was set during Tropical Storm Beryl in 1994. In Lumberton, where the Lumber River inundated homes, Fire Chief John Paul Ivey couldn't even count how many calls authorities had received about people needing to be rescued.

Money also is available to the state, some local governments, and some private nonprofit groups on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in those counties.

Florence will continue to move very slowly to the southwest on Saturday, which in turn will drag the axis of heavy rain bands to the southwest as well.

Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm early Friday evening, with maximum winds of around 70 miles per hour.

One of the towns worst affected is New Bern, which sits between the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina.

"River flooding is dynamic and it's happening all over our state", Cooper said.

Meanwhile, Florence crept across the border into SC overnight, with tropical storm-force winds still extending 175 miles from the center.

Florence, once a fearsome Category 4 hurricane, was still massive. It was moving west at 3 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said.

Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.

As the remnants of the storm begin to accelerate, it is expected to spark heavy rainfall and renewed flood risks in areas from southern Virginia into the Appalachians, meteorologists warn. The storm is some 400 miles (645 kilometers) wide.

Also of concern is the sprawling Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia and Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in North Carolina and at Parris Island in SC. Nonetheless the water stored rising. Officials have warned it's unlikely to cease anytime soon, urging residents to prepare for potentially catastrophic flooding and potential landslides.

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