Florence pummels the Carolinas

By Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Paul P. Murphy and Eric Levenson, CNN

Updated 8:11 a.m. ET, September 17, 2018
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11:30 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

These are the rain totals across North Carolina (from reporting stations that didn't break in the storm)

From CNN's Judson Jones

Parts of North Carolina have seen more than two feet of rain. The city of Swansboro alone has gotten more than 30 inches — which breaks the all-time record for rainfall in a tropical system in the state of North Carolina. 

Here's a breakdown of the top rain fall reports across the state. But note: These are only from stations that are still reporting. It's unclear how many stations broke during Florence.

  • Swansboro: 30.58 inches                 
  • Hofmann: 25.87 inches                   
  • Newport/Morehead City: 23.75 inches                  
  • Emerald Isle: 23.49 inches                   
  • Elizabethtown: 20.17 inches                   
  • Croatan: 19.89 inches                  
  • Cedar Point: 19.25 inches                  
  • Mount Olive: 16.80 inches                  
  • Jacksonville: 16.13 inches   
  • Kinston: 16.01 inches                               

11:22 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

South Carolina official: We're expecting flooding next week

From CNN's Paul Vercammen

Horry County spokesperson Kelly Brosky said her South Carolina county has some localized flooding but is otherwise doing pretty well. That might change soon though.

“We anticipate more serious flooding next week," she said.

For now, the situation seems to be under control. There aren't any major road closures and officials are getting crews on the field to focus on fallen trees and power restoration.

About 87,000 people are without power, and 2,700 people are in shelters, Brosky said.

10:51 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

Florence is about 40 miles away from Florence, South Carolina

From CNN's Judson Jones

Tropical Storm Florence now has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

It's still crawling westward across South Carolina at just 2 mph, which is about as fast as you walk.

"Heavy rains and catastrophic flooding continue across portions of North Carolina and South Carolina," the service said in an update.

Of note: Florence is about 40 miles south of Florence, South Carolina.

10:46 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

All the ponies on this North Carolina island survived the storm

All of the ponies on North Carolina's Ocracoke Island are safe, the National Park Service tweeted.

Even the pony pen remained intact.

Horses were first documented on Ocracoke Island when European colonists settled there in the 1730s. Since then, they've been a major part of its history.

We’re not sure how wild horses in other areas are doing, but we’ll keep you posted here as soon as we learn more. Ahead of the storm, experts suggested that North Carolina's wild horses would be OK.

Meg Puckett, herd manager of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, said the ponies were built to weather storms like Florence.

"These horses have been here centuries," she told CNN earlier this week. "They are probably better equipped to handle this kind of weather than anybody else on the Outer Banks right now."
10:39 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

2 deaths reported this morning are not actually storm-related, officials say

From CNN's Chuck Johnston in Atlanta

Two deaths characterized this morning by North Carolina's Carteret Office of Emergency Services as being "storm related" are not related to Florence, according to the Sheriff's Department in Carteret County.

On Friday, the Carteret County Sheriff's Department responded during active hurricane conditions to investigate the reported deaths of residents there, according to a release from the Sheriff's Department.

A preliminary investigation confirmed the deaths of couple Pauly and Alicia Lewis to be murder-suicide, according to a statement from the department.

Carteret County Emergency Services spokeswoman Amanda Tesch says there are no storm related deaths in the county. 

The death toll for Florence stands at 5 people.

  • A mother and her infant child died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city's police department said.
  • In the town of Hampstead, a woman in cardiac arrest was found dead after emergency responders found their path blocked by downed trees, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.
  • Two men in Lenoir County also died: One who was hooking up a generator and another who was checking on his dogs outside.

10:28 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

This is the most rain North Carolina has ever seen during a tropical system

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Florence has dumped 30.58 inches of rainfall in Swansboro, North Carolina. 

This breaks the all-time record for rainfall in a tropical system in the state of North Carolina. 

The previous record was 24.06 inches, and it was set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  

And remember: This number — and all rain totals — are preliminary and subject to change.

10:07 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

FEMA: This storm isn't over. There's still a lot of rain to come.

Jeff Byard, with FEMA's Office of Response and Recovery, urged residents along to Carolina coast to stay vigilant as Florence begins to move away from the area.

While the storm's winds may be weakening, water — in the form of heavy rainfall, flash flooding and storm surge — is still a concern.

"Wind can hurt you," Byard said at a Saturday morning news conference. "It is the water, it's the surge, it's the rain that ... can kill you more than the wind can."

Water has accounted for more than 75% of all hurricane-related fatalities in the US from 1963 to 2012. Wind, on the other hand, is only responsible for 8% of all deaths.

"There's a lot of rain to come. There's a lot of rain that's fallen," Byard said.

Watch more:

9:47 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

North Carolina is still bracing for possible flooding

While Tropical Florence is starting to move away from North Carolina, its effects aren't over. Many communities are bracing for flooding.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is reporting from Lumberton, North Carolina.

"The real threat could still be ahead for many communities, because all of that water has to go somewhere," Sandoval said.

He continued: "Many people here believe that the worst could still be ahead. Yes, they were spared the wind damage, but the floodwaters — that could still be in their future."

10:22 a.m. ET, September 15, 2018

100 people still need to be rescued from one North Carolina city

About 100 people in New Bern, North Carolina, still need to be rescued from the floodwaters brought on by the storm, the city's mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN.

Rescuers have already plucked about 400 people out of the waters since Friday afternoon.

The city has seen more than 10 feet of storm surge and likely more than 10 inches of rain as of Friday evening, according to CNN meteorologists.

New Bern is home to approximately 30,000 people and sits about 37 miles northeast of Jacksonville, North Carolina.