Storm Florence: Heavy flooding cuts off Wilmington

Several mailboxes stand in the water in River Bend town North Carolina the United States on Sept. 14 2018

Several mailboxes stand in the water in River Bend town North Carolina the United States on Sept. 14 2018

Hurricane "Florence", a category four struck the Atlantic coast of the United States of America three days ago, causing floods and landslides.

In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people 145km inland, authorities warned thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by yesterday afternoon because of the flood risk.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area until at least Monday morning and said up to 8 inches (20 cm) more rain could fall in some areas, creating an elevated risk for landslides in Western North Carolina.

Flooding worries increased in West Virginia and Virginia, where roads were closed and power outages were on the rise.

With Florence moving west at 8 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour, the National Weather Service is warning of sustained risk from life-threatening floods, landslides, downed trees and power lines.

A tornado watch was issued for parts of North and SC as emergency management officials also warned of the potential for dam failures and landslides. "They have not even begun (to crest)".

The storm's death toll climbed to at least 17 when a 3-month-old child was killed when a tree fell across a mobile home in North Carolina.

More than 2.4 million people were evacuated from China's southern Guangdong province ahead of the massive typhoon, the strongest to hit the region in almost two decades.

The dead included a 1-year-old boy who was swept away from his mother as they tried to escape their vehicle amid floodwaters. "We want you home, but you can't come yet".

There were now 2,000 federal workers working on storm response, supporting state efforts, said Tom Fargione, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer, during a press conference.

Anne Francis Coronado came back on Sunday to inspect the damage with her husband.

They did not say what had been stolen but said charges are pending. More than 5 million gallons of partially-treated sewage spilled into the Cape Fear River after the power went out at a treatment plant, officials said, and the earthen dam of a pond holding hog waste was breached, spilling its contents.

On a flooded road near New Bern, Bryan Moore and his nephew Logan chose to go swimming in the floodwaters after having spent days at home without electricity or running water.

Major rivers are expected to remain flooded for the next two to three weeks, said Steve Goldstein, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration liaison to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"Even though hurricanes are categorized by wind, it's the water that really causes the most loss of life".

A man tries to corral escaped horses in the floodwater caused by Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina. Streets were flooded and Police Chief Keith Thomas warned people not to drive, but the local food and gas store had customers. The US president is also expected to visit the areas soon.

Trump previously declared states of emergency in North and SC, and Virginia to the north.

More than 30 inches of rain pounded on North Carolina, which is a record, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Carolinas' swollen rivers were beginning to swamp coal ash dumps and low-lying hog farms, raising concerns about water pollution. The US Defense Department said about 13,500 soldiers, sailors and Marines are assigned to help relief efforts.

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