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Death toll from Florence rises, officials urge caution as storm continues

People wait for the Piggly Wiggly grocery store to open after Hurricane Florence hit Richlands N.C.,Sunday Sept. 16 2018.					Tom Copeland  AP

The tropical depression will keep dumping rain over parts of North Carolina for the next few days, with numerous rivers expected to crest at major flood stage.

In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people about 90 miles inland, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes because of the flood risk.

Emergency workers delivered truckloads of food and water to Wilmington, a city of 120,000 people cut off from the rest of North Carolina by Florence's still-rising floodwaters, as helicopters and boats pulled people from homes swamped by swollen rivers.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said: "The storm has never been more unsafe than it is right now".

The most rain so far from Florence was 86cm in Swansboro, North Carolina, a new record for a hurricane in the state.

The storm brought up to 40 inches of rain to some parts of southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC, according to the National Weather Service.

During the storm, emergency personnel from both New Bern Fire and Rescue and Police departments as well as swift water rescue teams and Parks and Recreation staff rescued more than 800 people from flooded homes in the New Bern area, according to Stephens.

-A mother and her 8-month-old child were killed when a massive tree crushed their brick house Friday in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The storm's death toll climbed to 16 when a pickup truck ran into standing water in SC and the driver lost control, hitting a tree, authorities said.

In the port city of Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down in North Carolina, trees and power lines were felled and many windows were broken.

Tillis added that it is "very hard to say" when North Carolinians could expect life to return to normal.

Slowly, parts of North Carolina are starting to emerge from under the cloak of Florence.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

With so many roads in and out of the region flooded, he could not access supplies to help start rebuilding.

North Carolina's New Bern and Wilmington experienced severe flooding and extensive building damage.

Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate homes along rivers.

Forecasters fear that the coming days could bring the worst flooding in North Carolina's history as rivers swell towards record levels. As the storm "begins to finally recede, they will kick into an even higher gear".

"Don't make yourself someone who needs to be rescued".

Duke's Fountain said the company is confident most of the material was contained and "in the safety of the public and the environment".

As Filipinos struggled to cope with the wrath of Super Typhoon Mangkhut on Saturday, people on the other side of the world felt the Atlantic Ocean's deadly rage, in the form of Tropical Storm Florence.

But they drove headlong into rising floodwaters so forceful their vehicle was pushed off the road and pinned against a group of trees, officials said. The flooding could presist for several weeks in some areas.

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

More than 450 people had to be rescued from swirling flood water over the weekend. Hunt said Matthew caught them by surprise with flooding in the middle of the night.