NCDOT warns residents about Florence flooding interstates, highways

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People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington, North Carolina.

Mayor Dana Outlaw told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that numerous creeks in the area are "increasing by the hour" and there's concern about trees falling due to the saturated ground conditions.

A downed tree and water from the Neuse river are seen on a flooded street during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, on September 14, 2018.

In South Carolina, a woman was killed when she struck a tree while driving, and a couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator being operated inside their home, officials said.

The National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. Sunday update that Florence continues to produce widespread heavy rains over much of the Carolinas and flash flooding and major river flooding will continue over a significant portion of North Carolina and SC.

With flood waters advancing rapidly in many communities, stranded people were being rescued by boat and by helicopter, while tens of thousands of others hunkered down in shelters.

Some local residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit early on Friday. "Charlotte [W.Va.] hasn't had a lot of rain - less than an inch - but the worst of the rain will be tonight, five to 10 inches when all is said and done".

Western North Carolina is also at risk of landslides, the National Hurricane Center warned early Sunday.

Florence set a record in the state for rain from a hurricane, dumping 33.9 inches (86 cm) in Swansboro, North Carolina.

Crews from the city and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were working with citizen volunteers to get people to dry ground, Roberts said.

Fayetteville's mayor called the potential flooding "a serious, life threatening matter" and that anyone who anyone that stays should contact next of kin because of the possible loss of life. "I think we're OK".

The National Weather Service warned of a "catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding risk" in much of North Carolina, northern SC and southwest Virginia on Sunday. NWS reports as of Saturday morning stated Jacksonville received over 20 inches of rain over the last three days. The great danger now, experts say, is river flooding.

South Carolina's governor issued a similar warning, urging anyone in a flood-prone area to evacuate.

Tropical Storm Florence is expected to weaken into a depression soon but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas.

Florence's remnants are expected to keep traveling north and then northeast and could drop several inches of rain in eastern Tennessee and eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, Florence was about 25 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of Columbia, South Carolina.

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday. It has top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kph) and is moving west at 6 miles per hour (9 kph).

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

President Donald Trump tweeted late Saturday that "five deaths have been recorded thus far, ' and expressed sympathy to the victims" families.

"It's the rain that effects and can kill you more than the wind can in a hurricane".

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