Storm Florence: The impact in numbers

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Florence has weakened to a tropical depression but forecasters warn the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged, significant river flooding", the NHC said.

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland yesterday, triggering unsafe flooding, knocking out power in almost 900,000 homes and businesses, and causing at least eight deaths.

As the United States dealt with Florence, a strong typhoon tore across the northern tip of the Philippines, killing at least three people, wrecking homes and triggering landslides before heading toward Hong Kong and southern China.

More than five people have died in Hurricane Florence before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

North and SC have so far experienced the worst of Florence's slow-crawling path of destruction, where the storm has been responsible for a total of 13 deaths, according to local media.

"Many people who think the storm has missed them have yet to see its threat", he said, adding: "Don't go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear".

Wilmington was battered by high winds and rising flood water as a pier was smashed by a huge wave.

As much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain could fall on coastal areas in North and SC, the National Hurricane Center said.

An Army National Guard vehicle takes a swift water rescue team and their boat down a flooded street to evacuate people stranded by floodwaters caused by Florence in New Bern on Saturday.

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HEMSI spokesperson Don Webster says even if you think you have a good reason for staying behind, doing so can risky for you and for first responders.

The 18th century town, with a population of 30,000, has been badly flooded, with 4,200 homes damaged.

In its initial onslaught along the coast, Florence buckled buildings, deluged entire communities and knocked out power to more than 870,000 homes and businesses.

And on September 14, a woman and her child died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington.

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing.

From the reported 13 deaths so far, the first two victims were a mother and her seven-month-old baby in North Carolina, who were killed when a tree fell on their home. "Do NOT attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order". A woman died in Hampstead, North Carolina after having a heart attack. Officials are already working to establish temporary housing options once the brunt of the storm has passed. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

Homes and roads have been utterly submerged by the barrage of rain caused by the remnants of hurricane Florence - now a tropical storm.

The triple punch of falling rain, rising rivers and coastal storm surges was already triggering catastrophic floods. Disaster response efforts are underway.

As rescuers battled strong winds and debris-filled floodwaters to pluck hundreds of stranded people from their homes, officials confirmed at least three deaths from the monster storm, while USA media reported a fourth.

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