MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Florence (all times local):
Tropical Storm Florence is expected to weaken into a depression soon but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas.
The National Hurricane Center says excessive amounts of rain are still being dumped in North Carolina and the effect is expected to be “catastrophic.” In its 2 a.m. update Sunday, the center also says an elevated risk of landslides is now expected in western North Carolina.
Forecasters say heavy rains also are expected early in the week in parts of West Virginia and the west-central portion of Virginia. Both states also are at a risk of dangerous flash floods and river flooding.
At 2 a.m. Sunday, Florence was about 25 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of Columbia, South Carolina. It has top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and is moving west at 6 mph (9 kph).
North Carolina is bracing for what could be the next stage of the still-unfolding disaster: widespread, catastrophic river flooding from Florence.
After blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph (145 kph) winds, Florence virtually parked itself much of the weekend atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore. Storm surges, flash floods and winds have spread destruction widely and the Marines, the Coast Guard and volunteers have used boats, helicopters, and heavy-duty vehicles to conduct hundreds of rescues as of Saturday.
The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm has now climbed to 11.
Rivers are swelling toward record levels, forecaster warn, and thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring some of the most destructive flooding in North Carolina history.
A rescue team from the North Carolina National Guard 1/120th battalion evacuates an elderly woman from her apartment as the rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence threatens her home in New Bern, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Members of the North Carolina National Guard finish stacking sand bags under a highway overpass near the Lumber River which is expected to flood from Hurricane Florence’s rain in Lumberton, N.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
The mast of a sunken boat sits at a dock at the Grand View Marina in New Bern, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Winds and rains from Hurricane Florence caused the Neuse River to swell, swamping the coastal city. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
A piece of corrugated metal blown by winds from Hurricane Florence just misses a state patrolman as people move a wood and metal structure that was blown onto the roadway, in Florence, S.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 photo, Manager Tom Roberts watches as an employee positions a pallet of mulch to protect the Ace Hardware store from Hurricane Florence in Calabash, N.C. Roberts still had supplies like bottled water, but went ahead and closed so his employees could prepare their homes. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Resident Joseph Eudi looks at flood debris and storm damage from Hurricane Florence at a home on East Front Street in New Bern, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (Gray Whitley/Sun Journal via AP)
People cross a downtown street in Columbia, S.C. as the remnants of Hurricane Florence slowly move across the East Coast Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
FILE – In this June 23, 2014 file photo, the dried-up bed of an inactive coal ash pond is seen at Duke Energy’s Sutton plant in Wilmington, N.C. Duke Energy says heavy rains from Florence have caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station near the North Carolina coast. Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said Saturday night, Sept. 15, 2018, that about 2,000 cubic yards of ash have been displaced at the L. V. Sutton Power Station outside Wilmington. (Mike Spencer/The Star-News via AP)