Torrential Rain Triggers Coal Ash Spill In North Carolina

People braved the rain to put sandbags in Lumberton North Carolina.               CBS News

People braved the rain to put sandbags in Lumberton North Carolina. CBS News

Mother Lesha Murphy-Johnson and her baby, Zac, were killed after being trapped inside their home in Wilmington when a tree fell onto the roof at around 9.30am on Friday.

More than five people have died in Hurricane Florence before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

Rising water forced a North Carolina TV station to evacuate its newsroom in the middle of Hurricane Florence coverage.

"Know that water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don't typically flood", said Governor Roy Cooper.

In New Bern, about 90 miles northeast of Wilmington at the confluence of two rivers, Florence overwhelmed the town of 30,000 and left the downtown area under water.

More than 300 volunteers from nine USA states have joined the relief effort in North Carolina, according to ABC News.

Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.

A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at almost 170km/h, the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

Authorities on Saturday warned residents displaced by a killer hurricane that its devastation was far from over, as Florence dumped "epic amounts of rainfall" across the eastern United States, bringing catastrophic flooding.

By tomorrow afternoon, the center of Florence is expected to be across western SC.

The most powerful typhoon to hit the disaster-prone Philippines this year slammed ashore before dawn in Cagayan province on the northeastern tip of Luzon island, a breadbasket that is also a region of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces with a history of deadly landslides.

And they say people who are truly in an emergency should call 911, not just Tweet about it. Gusts reached over 100 miles per hour - the highest recorded in North Carolina since 1958.

The parts of the country still in the storm's path have been saturated by summer rains and can not soak up any surplus from Florence.

In New Bern, a riverfront city near the North Carolina coast that saw storm surges up to 10 feet (3 meters), authorities were rescuing stranded residents and taking stock of damages.

Florence has already set a North Carolina record for rainfall totals, exceeding that of Hurricane Floyd, which struck in 1999 and caused 56 deaths.

"The shelves are pretty empty, and we don't expect our first truck until Sunday, maybe, if they can get through", she said. "We're trying to educate and protect Floridians so they don't fall victim to Irma for a second time". 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.

Home Depot and North Carolina-based Lowe's - the two biggest home supply companies - both activated sophisticated emergency command centers with their own meteorologists.

Parts of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC could see another foot or more of rain over the weekend, according to National Weather Service. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".

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