Carolinas face catastrophic flooding as Florence breaks rainfall records

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Tropical storm Florence moved slowly down the Carolina coast on Saturday, as officials forecast catastrophic flooding in the region and said at least 11 people had been killed by the giant weather system that is set to plague the area for days ahead.

The storm battered the coastline throughout Friday and Saturday with hurricane-force winds and as much as 2ft (60cm) of rain in some areas of North Carolina, breaking state records. With many areas already flooded by seawater, forecasts warned of a period of extensive flooding around the region’s winding network of rivers and creeks.

North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, labelled the storm “an uninvited brute who doesn’t want to leave”. He added, with reference to the storm’s glacial 2mph progress: “We know we’re in for a long haul here. But I think we’re ready.”

In New Bern, a city that backs on to the Neuse river in North Carolina, rescue operations continued on Saturday as significant flooding destroyed homes and some of the city’s historic colonial-era statues. More than 360 people were rescued from the flooding by crews in boats, some flown in from New York and other areas of the US.

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