Hurricane Florence death toll climbs as flooding spreads

Two U.S. Navy warships carrying helicopters and rescue equipment are in position off the East Coast to help with the response to hurricane-turned Tropical Depression Florence

Florence death toll rises to 25 as flooding continues

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, as a Category 1 hurricane Friday morning.

A 1-year-old boy ripped from his mother's arms by fierce floodwaters in North Carolina became one of Florence's latest victims Monday - as the devastating storm's death toll may now be as high as 20, officials and reports said.

The storm stretched across at least six states, but the hardest hit were the Carolinas.

The governor said that 23 truckloads of supplies were able to make it into Wilmington this morning, though officials are uncertain whether the single road into the city will remain functional as rivers continue to flood.

North Carolina had deployed around 2,000 boats and 36 helicopters to help people stranded in floods, the state's director of emergency management, has said.

One group of good Samaritans traveled from Tennessee to help the storm-beleaguered city get back on its feet - small business owners who say they are just doing what God wants them to do.

Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression by Monday, and was moving north.

"People need to understand that some areas are likely to be without power for a while", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. Trump said nearly 20,000 military personnel and federal workers were deployed to help with the aftermath of Florence in the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic, and they would "do whatever it takes to keep the American people safe".

"Don't drive around barricades". As this storm continues to churn through North Carolina, it has dumped almost two feet or more of rain in many places.

Cooper noted that many areas of Eastern North Carolina are still recovering from 2016's Hurricane Matthew, which required $740 billion in relief aid from the state. "This is an epic storm that is still continuing because the rivers are still rising".

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The National Weather Service said there is an "elevated risk for landslides" in North Carolina.

Forecasters fear that the coming days could bring the worst flooding in North Carolina's history as rivers swell towards record levels.

Those trapped in floodwater could also be without power for days.

Thousands of rescues have taken place in the two states and over 650 people were taken to safety in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, said Barbi Baker, a spokeswoman for New Hanover County.

Another Arizona team put together by various agencies, including Arizona State Forestry and Peoria Fire, was working out of Laurinburg, North Carolina.

"The worst is yet to come" as river levels rise to historic levels, said Zach Taylor, a meteorologist with the US National Weather Service.

The body of an elderly man was found by his submerged auto Monday morning, the Union County Sheriff's Office said.

"I lost everything in the flooding", he said.

McMaster says officials in this area have told him local water sources in this area are almost 10 inches (25 centimeters) higher than normal.

About 60 children in state custody along the coast of North Carolina have been evacuated to a YMCA conference center in the western mountains.

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