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Storm Florence Weakens But Epic Rains Still Expected

Storm Florence Weakens But Epic Rains Still Expected Storm Florence Weakens But Epic Rains Still Expected

Storm Florence weakened on Sunday as it swept through the Carolinas but dozens of communities are devastated and epic amounts of rain could still fall, officials said.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression about 5 a.m. as it trudged inland early Sunday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters kept rising, Reuters reported.

North Carolina officials have reported at least seven storm-related fatalities with unconfirmed reports of a further three deaths. South Carolina authorities reported one death.

“This is still a catastrophic, life threatening storm,” said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Center’s Weather Prediction Center.

“It has already dumped 20-to-30 inches of rain on parts of the Carolinas with more to come,” he said. “And many of the rivers will see prolonged flooding, some not cresting for a few days.”

Winds have dropped to about 55 kph since it roared ashore on Friday as a hurricane and it is crawling west over two states at 9 kph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Sunday.

“This storm is still deadly and dangerous and it’s expected to turn northward later today into Virginia and the mid-Atlantic,” he said.

Roads were closed and authorities warned of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled. As of Saturday, about 676,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in South Carolina.

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