Tropical Storm Florence brings catastrophic flooding to Carolinas

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Those who ignore the order could be on their own, officials said, reported the Charlotte Observer; rescue crews may not be sent into flooded areas that were under the order. In Leland, a low-lying city north of Wilmington, homes and local businesses were engulfed by water.

"Our roads are flooded", he said.

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.

Downgraded overnight to a tropical depression, Florence was still massive.

Officials have declared states of emergency in several states, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

Half way around the world, meanwhile, Typhoon Mangkhut barreled into southern China on Sunday after lashing the Philippines with strong winds and heavy rain that left dozens dead. "I thought I'd come out here and see if I could get more fuel, but no luck", said Steve McLean outside a Harris Teeter gasoline station that had electricity, but no gasoline.

Rivers are swelling toward record levels, forecasters now warn, and thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

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"We have completed all of our water rescues & want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who helped us save lives".

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.

"We were stir-crazy from being inside so long", Moore said.

A mother and her child were killed in Wilmington when a tree fell on their home on Friday. In South Carolina, some 36,000 customers are without power, officials said.

"I have everything I need for my whole family", said Merlos.

But the water never quite made it to his home.

"I'm not going to waste my time".

The industrial-scale farms contain vast pits of animal feces and urine that can pose a significant pollution threat if they are breached or inundated by floodwaters.

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Mayor Mitch Colvin told people living within a mile of the region's main river, the Cape Fear, or the nearby Little River, that they had until 3 p.m. Sunday to get out. The storm had died down significantly in terms of wind speeds, but state and federal officials were still issuing warnings for residents to either evacuate or stay as far away from Florence as possible.

— A 78-year-old man was electrocuted in the rain while trying to connect extension cords for a generator, Lenoir County, North Carolina spokesman Bryan Hanks says.

A woman and her baby were among the first casualties, when a tree fell on their house, contributing to a toll which USA media said had reached 11. "If the river rises to the level they say it's going to, then this warehouse is going to be under water".

Primary roads in areas around Wilmington, New Bern and other cities have been closed because of high water.

Seven buoy-tending cutters have been directed to North Carolina to survey and open the ports of Wilmington and Morehead City as well as the North Carolina ferry system. The storm was moving at 2 miles per hour.

Record flooding is expected Tuesday on the Cape Fear at a crest of 62 feet there. The same thing happened on the Trent River.

More than 1 million power failures have been reported, according to the Department of Energy.

Along the Lumber River in Lumberton, workers used heavy machinery to dump extra sand on a railbed prone to flooding.

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About 756,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC and surrounding states, down from a peak of almost 1 million. Sutton was retired in 2013 and the company has been excavating ash to remove to safer lined landfills. Sheehan said that estimate could be revised. Ponds had begun to overflow, and creeks passing under the highway churned with muddy, brown water. This is particularly true in eastern SC.