The tropical storm Florence weakened on Sunday to a tropical depression, but significant parts of North Carolina and South Carolina should remain vulnerable to flooding and large floods, meteorologists said.

The further downgrading of what had been a powerful hurricane a few days ago came in a Sunday morning advisory from the National Hurricane Center at 5am.

With the update, the NHC also announced that a warning of a tropical storm spanning from South Santee River, S.C., to Surf City, N.C., has been discontinued, and that no Coastguards or warnings remain in effect.

On Saturday, officials in South Carolina confirmed the state's first fatality from Florence, raising the storm's nationwide death toll to at least 11 – even though the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reported at least 14 deaths.

The police said a 62-year-old woman was killed late Friday when the vehicle she drove hit a tree that had fallen off Highway 18 near the city of Union.

Capt. Kelly Hughes of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said that the woman wearing a seatbelt died at the scene and was not in the car at the time.

A mother and her eight-month-old child were among the first confirmed dead after a massive tree on Friday in Wilmington, North Carolina, had depressed her brick house.

Another man, 81, died Friday when he tried to evacuate Wayne County, North Carolina, and a man and a woman were killed in a house fire, according to the medical examiner's office.

Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a 78-year-old man was electrocuted in the rain while he tried to connect extension cables for a generator and another man, 77, died after he went outside to his hunting dogs investigate.

The Duplin County Sheriff's office confirmed three more deaths due to "flash floods and fast water on roads".

North Carolina authorities have confirmed 10 deaths so far. Early Saturday, the state tally staggered as officials first counted, then deducted, two deaths now thought to be a result of a suicide murder during the storm. This case is being investigated.

Compulsory evacuations were carried out for the areas around the shores of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center said on Saturday afternoon that "catastrophic flooding" is expected in certain parts of Carolinas.


Florence parked over the Carolinas on Saturday, with torrential rains, dangerous winds and coastal flooding that required hundreds of water rescues and ended in multiple deaths.

"It's like being tracked down by a turtle," FEMA associate director Jeffrey Byard said of the slow storm. "It's going to rain a lot, it's been raining a lot."

Emergency workers went door-to-door in North Carolina, pleading with people who had decided to leave the storm to leave.

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you do not take care of them, you risk your life," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Saturday.

More than 2 feet of rain over the course of 24 hours has fallen in some places in North Carolina, with forecasters demanding an extra 1½ feet by the end of the weekend. There is a fear that flash floods could destroy communities, threaten dams and block bridges. The storm also wiped out power for nearly a million people.


Aerial views along the coast near New Bern showed houses floating in the water and rescuers racing to reach the people trapped in it.

Cooper called Florence an "uninvited animal" that could wipe out entire communities as it made its way across land.

"The fact is, this storm is deadly and we know that we are days from an end," he said.


Since Thursday, more than 360 people in the higher waters of a river swollen by rain and salty storm surges have been transported to higher regions.

New Bern, North Carolina, Mayor Dana Outlaw urged residents not to return yet.

"We've lost a lot of power lines," he told Fox News. "We are very worried about these energetic lines and people might be hurt, so give the city time to check our infrastructure and make the roads safe for you."

Shocked after meeting the waves on the Neuse in front of his New Bern home, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had been evacuated.

"I feel like the stupidest person who ever walked the earth," he said.

Since he roared ashore, Florence has flattened trees, winding buildings and crumpled streets. Storm surges – the swell of ocean water that was hauled ashore by the hurricane – were as high as 10 feet.

Full coverage of Hurricane FLORENCE

Florence reached top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean waters at Category 4 before hitting land as Class 1. It blew ashore along a mostly boarded-up shoreline.

On the morning of Saturday, at a speed of 2 miles an hour, about 40 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Florence was flying slower than most people.

"It's like being tracked down by a turtle," FEMA associate director Jeffrey Byard said of the slow storm. "It's going to rain a lot, it's been raining a lot."

South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice described the storm Fox News as a "slow poison."

The destruction of Florence has less to do with wind than with water.

Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches of rain by Friday night, and weather forecasts warned Saturday morning that portions of the Carolinas could reach 15 inches more.


Sometimes Florence did not move forward faster than a man can walk, and it has remained such a great storm that its winds draw large quantities of moisture from the sea in a counterclockwise direction. The floods began on the North Carolina barrier island islands and then spread across coastal and river communities there and into South Carolina, flooding the white sandy beaches and golf courses of North Myrtle Beach.

For people living in the Carolinas inland, the greatest danger could only come days later, when all the water is draining away, flooding rivers and causing flash floods.

Authorities also warned of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters caused by floods that blew over industrial waste and pig farms.

About 9,700 National Guard and civilian troops were deployed with floats, helicopters, and boats.

Florence could become a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was criticized for being slow and unprepared last year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was estimated at nearly 3,000.

The hurricane center said the storm would eventually break over the southern Appalachians and form a right hook in the northeast, whose rainy remnants will move to the Mid-Atlantic states and New England mid-week. meteorologist Ryan Maue calculated that over a week, Florence dropped an incredible 18 trillion liters of rain on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches of water.


North Carolina alone is expected to receive 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel condition to a depth of about 10 inches.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and policemen fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to extract more than 60 people when the Triangle Motor Inn began to crumble.

In New Bern, 29,000 inhabitants, the New Zones flooded 500 people in danger.

Ashley Warren and her boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle with their two dogs in a boat away from their home and were shaken.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington, I love hurricanes, but this one was an experience for me," she said. "We could go."

Fox News & # 39; Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press have contributed to this report.


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