'Relentless rains' continue as Florence almost stalls over Carolinas

WATCH: Weather Channel Reporter Caught Allegedly Dramatizing Hurricane Winds, Gets Slammed Online

WATCH: Weather Channel Reporter Caught Allegedly Dramatizing Hurricane Winds, Gets Slammed Online

With the eye of Florence stalled near the coast, the half of the storm still out over the Atlantic continued to collect warm ocean water and dump it on land.

And dolphins were spotted closer than usual to shore near in Wilmington, North Carolina. Its winds were down to 45 miles per hour (75 kph). The storm is some 645 kilometres wide.

Swansboro, a town near North Carolina's coast, received 30.58 inches of rainfall as of Saturday morning, setting a record for tropical storm-associated rainfall in the state, meteorologist David Roth said.

At the W. H. Weatherspoon Power Station near Lumberton, Sheehan said it had already rained more than 30 inches (75 centimeters) by Saturday evening, causing a nearby swamp to overflow into the plants cooling pond.

Forecasters say the center of Hurricane Florence is hovering just inland near Cape Fear, North Carolina. Storm surges, flash floods and winds scattered destruction widely and the Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles to conduct rescues Saturday.

The centre said the storm would dump as much as 40 inches (102 cm) of rain along coastal areas of the Carolinas, as well as up to 10 inches in southwestern Virginia.

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

It tore roofs and facades off buildings and toppled trees. "Don't drive across standing or moving water", the governor said, urging people to heed evacuation orders.

Florence now huge, slow-moving tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has finally made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Floodwaters submerged U.S. Highway 264, cutting off a major route to other flood-prone areas along the river and the adjacent Pamlico Sound. The city said two FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more were on the way.

"Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience". Gov. Roy Cooper warned, describing day after day of disastrous weather to come.

"What we want to try to do is to minimize the time that people spend in their shelters that they're in right now", Sprayberry said. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

Prisoners were affected, too. The storm knocked out power to almost 930,000 homes and businesses, and the number could keep rising.

The huge levels of rainfall are a result of the storm surge created by the risky tropical weather, which has claimed the lives of 11 people.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. The southeast town of Newport, N.C., reported a rainfall total of nearly 24 inches as of midnight Saturday.

In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina. It hit the coast as a Category 1 storm with 90 miles per hour maximum sustained winds, the NWS said. "And we have 300 businesses that are damaged or destroyed".

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C., on September 14, 2018.

"We'll operate without power; we have candles".

"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference.

Others were at home hoping for the best. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later cancelled. "We have a safe basement and generator that comes on automatically".

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