Carolinas flood after Florence

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries and Eric Levenson, CNN

Updated 7:35 a.m. ET, September 19, 2018
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12:26 p.m. ET, September 17, 2018

Florence is the rainest East Coast tropical system ever

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Florence has dumped — and continues to dump — a lot of rain on the Carolinas.

How much rain exactly? Florence has the highest rainfall total for any tropical system to strike the US East Coast — ever.

Here are a few more statistics about the storm:

  • Rainfall totals have reached nearly 3 feet in North Carolina. The city of Elizabethtown has the highest total so far from Florence, 35.93 inches — which is the new record for rainfall from a tropical system in North Carolina history.
  • Totals in South Carolina are near 2 feet. Loris, South Carolina (near the border with North Carolina) has reached 23.63 inches. This sets the South Carolina state record for rain from a tropical system.
  • Flood watches and warnings are posted from South Carolina all the way up to Massachusetts and include 10 states and about 30 million people
  • Wilmington, North Carolina, has received over 23 inches from Florence and 2018 has already become the wettest year in 140 years of record keeping (with 3.5 months left to go!).  Wilmington has totaled more than 86 inches of rain so far this year (average to date should be 43 inches)
  • 4-day rainfall totals for many locations in NC range from 15-30 inches.  This represents at least 1 in 1,000 year rainfall events for these locations.
11:58 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

National Weather Service office in North Carolina observes brief moment of sunshine

The National Weather Service's Raleigh office tweeted earlier this morning that they observed one minute of sunshine after days of stormy skies. They added: "#theendisnear."

11:35 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

Florence death toll rises to 20 in the Carolinas

From CNN's Chuck Johnson

The body of an elderly man was found next to his submerged sedan this morning, according to North Carolina's Union County Sheriff Department spokesman Tony Underwood.

Underwood says a driver found the elderly man's body this morning while driving on Landsford Road in Union County.

Underwood says this is the second storm related death in Union County.

There are now a total of 20 storm-related deaths in the Carolinas.

11:36 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

Elizabethtown, North Carolina, has gotten the most rain

Elizabethtown is now the North Carolina city with the most Florence rain, according to the National Weather Service. So far, it's gotten a reported 35.93 inches since Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, Swansboro had been the North Carolina city with the most rain. It's now No. 2, with almost 34 inches of rain.

Here's a breakdown of rain totals across the state:

  • Elizabethtown: 35.93 inches                   
  • Swansboro: 33.89 inches                  
  • Gurganus: 30.38 inches                                      
  • Hofmann Forest: 29.62 inches                                      
  • Hampstead: 29.52 inches                                      
  • Sunny Point: 27.44 inches                
  • Oak Island: 26.98 inches                                      
  • Wilmington: 26.58 inches                                    
  • Whiteville: 25.91 inches                                      
  • Newport/Morehead City: 25.20 inches               
  • Mount Olive: 25.04 inches                   
11:10 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

Storm-related fatalities in the Carolinas now 19 people, including 1-year-old boy

The body of 1-year old Kaiden Lee-Welch was recovered on Monday, according to the Union County Sheriff Department, raising the death toll in the storm and its aftermath to 19.

Search and rescue teams spent several hours on Sunday searching for him after he was swept away in rushing waters from Richardson Creek, according to the Union County Sheriff Department.

Union County Sheriff Department described what happened on their Facebook page. 

"Union County Sheriff’s detectives believe the child and his mother were traveling east on N.C. 218 going toward Wadesboro. The mother drove around the barricades on N.C. 218 and continued traveling east until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing across the road. Her vehicle left the roadway and came to rest amongst a group of trees. She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water."
10:54 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

This Chapel Hill shopping center flooded so much you can paddle board in it

From CNN's Spencer Parlier

Chapel Hill, North Carolina — the college town home to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels — experienced flash flooding over night.

Resident Michael Johnson shared this photo of a flooded shopping center Monday morning.

"I was there yesterday. there was no standing water. It was raining moderately but no big deal," Johnson told CNN via Instagram. "I was surprised to see the quick change in conditions overnight," he added. 

10:39 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

This North Carolina river could see major flooding today

A man wades through rising flood waters on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday.
A man wades through rising flood waters on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

The National Weather Service reports that the Cape Fear River in North Carolina is continuing to rise, and parts of it will flood today.

The area near Fayetteville is expected to see major flooding today, according to the service:

Meanwhile, the river near Lillington will likely enter moderate flooding:

10:14 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

More than half a million customers without power

Flooding is seen near Interstate Highway 95 in Lumberton, North Carolina, on Sunday.
Flooding is seen near Interstate Highway 95 in Lumberton, North Carolina, on Sunday. ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

More than 500,000 customers across North and South Carolina are without power this morning.

  • 488,551 power outages statewide in North Carolina   
  • 16,385  power outages statewide in South Carolina
  • 504,936 total customers without power in both states

But keep in mind: These numbers reflect the customers without power, not people. A lot of those customers might have multiple people in their households, meaning the number of people without power could be even higher.

9:50 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018

More than 500 price-gouging complaints in North Carolina

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and Hollie Silverman

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says his office received more than 500 complaints relating to price gouging.

State law says businesses aren't allowed to spike prices during any natural disaster for necessary items like food, water and hotel rooms.

Those most common reports of price gouging during Hurricane Florence has been on gas and water. The attorney general says his office has also received reports of hotels over-charging evacuees.

Businesses that charge too much may have to refund customers and pay up to $5,000 for every violation.

To report potential price gouging in North Carolina: call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at