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**LIVE UPDATES** Deadly Florence Wreaks Havoc in Carolinas as Death Toll Rises

Tropical Depression Florence on Monday continues to lash the Carolinas …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tropical Depression Florence on Monday continues to lash the Carolinas as severe rain and wind batter parts of the region. Flash flood watches have been posted in parts of southern West Virginia as the remnants of Florence fall on saturated ground. The National Weather Service has issued the watch through Monday evening in North Carolina’s Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, and Summers counties. Officials say weather conditions have “never been more dangerous.”

► Florence has been degraded from a Tropical Storm to a Depression. 

► At least 31 people are dead as Florence batters the Carolinas.

► North Carolina’s New Bern and Wilmington experienced severe flooding and extensive building damage.

► At least 500,000 customers are without power across the Carolinas.

► Analytics firm CoreLogic says Florence could cost at least $170 billion in property loss.

► At least 2,400 flights have been canceled.

**Follow all of the events on the Breitbart News Live Wire below. All times in eastern.**

11:17 PM: North Carolina Department of Transportation crew members work to repair a road damaged by Florence in Kinston.

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 17: A North Carolina Deprtment of Transportation crew begins to repair a gash torn in Faulkner Road by flood waters from Hurricane Florence near the Nuese River September 17, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday, with at least 14 deaths attributed to the storm, since downgraded to a tropical depression. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

10:38 PM: Earlier Monday, Bob Richling evacuated Iris Darden from her Spring Lake, North Carolina, home amid rising floodwater.

SPRING LAKE, NC – SEPTEMBER 17: Bob Richling carries Iris Darden as water from the Little River starts to seep into her home on September 17, 2018 in Spring Lake, North Carolina. Pam Darden (in backgound) helps save items from the home as flood waters from the cresting rivers inundate the area after the passing of Hurricane Florence. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SPRING LAKE, NC – SEPTEMBER 17: Bob Richling carries Iris Darden as water from the Little River starts to seep into her home on September 17, 2018 in Spring Lake, North Carolina. Flood waters from the cresting rivers inundated the area after the passing of Hurricane Florence. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SPRING LAKE, NC – SEPTEMBER 17: Bob Richling carries Iris Darden as water from the Little River starts to seep into her home on September 17, 2018 in Spring Lake, North Carolina. Pam Darden and Iris Darden’s son, David Darden jr., help save items from the home as flood waters from the cresting rivers inundate the area after the passing of Hurricane Florence. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SPRING LAKE, NC – SEPTEMBER 17: Bob Richling carries items from the home of Iris Darden as flood water from the Little River starts to seep into her home on September 17, 2018 in Spring Lake, North Carolina. Flood waters from the cresting rivers inundated the area after the passing of Hurricane Florence. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

10:04 PM: The remnants of Florence are moving toward Connecticut, likely bringing strong winds and heavy rain to the state.

9:58 PM: Flooding in parts of Georgetown County, South Carolina, is still preventing residents from returning home.

9:05 PM: More North Carolina counties have qualified for federal disaster aid for their homeowners, renters and businesses reeling from Hurricane Florence damage, per the Associated Press.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced late Monday that 10 additional counties have been designated for individual assistance, bringing the total to 18 counties damaged by the storm overall as qualifying for such assistance.

Residents and businesses that have damage should file insurance claims first before applying for government assistance. The aid could include grants or low-interest loans.

The new counties designated Monday are Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, Robeson, Sampson and Wayne counties.

Designating the 18 counties also means the federal government can reimburse state and local governments for debris removal and other emergency actions.

8:58 PM: Footage from earlier Monday shows a tornado moving through parts of Richmond, Virginia.

8:48 PM: Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal crew members are monitoring rising Pee Dee River levels in South Carolina.

8:15 PM: Despite the lashing Florence unleashed on New Bern, North Carolina, residents of the area were in an upbeat mood earlier Monday.

Members of the New York City Urban Search and Rescue task force unload gear after performing rescues during the morning in New Bern, North Carolina on September 17, 2018 in the wake of Hurricane Florence. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A man in a walker heads home after getting free food at a volunteer donation center in New Bern, North Carolina on September 17, 2018 in the wake of Hurricane Florence. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the New York City Urban Search and Rescue task force relax after performing rescues during the morning near New Bern, North Carolina on September 17, 2018 in the wake of Hurricane Florence. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A volunteer yells after getting more hamburger buns in line for free food at a volunteer donation center in New Bern, North Carolina on September 17, 2018 in the wake of Hurricane Florence. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

8:00 PM: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the city of New Bern is a strong and resilient community and will make it through the devastating flooding that damaged riverfront buildings and mangled homes and sailboats, Associated Press reports.

Cooper and House Speaker Tim Moore traveled Monday to the city of 30,000 people about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Raleigh to view the damage caused by Hurricane Florence. Torrential rains and storm surge going up the Neuse River left water marks on homes and businesses measured in feet, making North Carolina’s Colonial-era capital one of the hardest-hit communities when the storm first reach landfall.

New Bern Fire Chief Robert Boyd said 4,300 homes were inundated by floodwaters. That’s about one-third of all the city’s homes.

The governor and speaker also worked a line briefly in the Temple Baptist Church parking lot to hand out dinners, water and ice to grateful motorists who drove in for help.

7:33 PM: Officials say 31 people have died as a result of Florence; 24 of those were in North Carolina, the Associated Press reports.

7:30 PM: North Carolina’s Northeast Cape Fear River has risen dramatically after Florence battered the area.

CASTLE HAYNE, NC – SEPTEMBER 17: The Northeast Cape Fear River is swollen due to the heavy rain from Hurricane Florence on September 17, 2018 in Castle Hayne, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the southeast U.S. causing widespread power outages and flooding across the region. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

CASTLE HAYNE, NC – SEPTEMBER 17: The Northeast Cape Fear River is swollen due to the heavy rain from Hurricane Florence, on September 17, 2018 in Castle Hayne, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the southeast U.S. causing widespread power outages and flooding across the region. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

7:22 PM: WRAL’s Jeff Gravley shares footage of the sun setting on a flood-stricken Lumberton, North Carolina.

7:15 PM: 23 people are now dead as Tropical Depression Florence continues to pummel the Carolinas, Reuters reports.

7:00 PM: The death toll from Florence rose to at least 21, and crews elsewhere used helicopters and boats to rescue people trapped by still-rising rivers, according to the Associated Press. Throwing a lifeline to a city surrounded by floodwaters, emergency crews delivered food and water to Wilmington on Monday as rescuers picked up more people stranded by Hurricane Florence and the storm’s remnants took aim at the densely populated Northeast.

A day earlier, Wilmington’s entire population of 120,000 people was cut off by flooding. By midday Monday, authorities reopened a single unidentified road into the town, which stands on a peninsula. But it wasn’t clear if that the route would remain open as the Cape Fear River kept swelling. And officials did not say when other roads might be clear.

In some places, the rain finally stopped, and the sun peeked through, but North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned that dangerously high water would persist for days. He urged residents who were evacuated from the hardest-hit areas to stay away because of closed roads and catastrophic flooding that submerged entire communities.

Throwing a lifeline to a city surrounded by floodwaters, emergency crews delivered food and water to Wilmington on Monday as rescuers picked up more people stranded by Hurricane Florence and the storm’s remnants took aim at the densely populated Northeast.

6:45 PM: Virginia officials confirm one person is dead after a tornado ripped through a building.

6:35 PM: Three television stations in a hurricane-ravaged North Carolina city are about to go dark because there’s no gas to keep their generators running, according to the Associated Press.

WWAY-TV in Wilmington reported that engineers braved the wrath of Hurricane Florence to switch the transmitters to generator power after electricity to the site went out. In addition, WECT and WSFX also lost power to their own transmitters, so the WWAY technicians switched those stations to generator power as well.

The stations made arrangements before the storm to have fuel available to refill the generators, but flooding in the area has made it impossible to get gasoline to the tower. WWAY briefly went off the air around 3 p.m. WECT and WSFX are also expected to run out of fuel soon and could lose their over-the-air signals.

The statement from WWAY said the stations have been working with local, state and federal officials to determine how to access the transmitter site by ground or air to provide information to the area during recovery from the storm.

6:25 PM: The Associated Press reports many areas in South Carolina’s northeastern corner are already covered in water as the state prepares for what officials say could be as much as a foot more of water flowing into the state’s rivers following Florence.

A reporter traveling with Gov. Henry McMaster aboard a National Guard helicopter Monday saw homes, businesses and other structures already surrounded by water as river levels continue to rise.

The tiny town of Nichols was nearly entirely destroyed in the flooding that followed Hurricane Matthew in 2016. On Monday, a river that flows alongside the town was swollen, and local officials say they were trying to evacuate all residents.

Areas from Florence to Chesterfield, Conway, and Dillon were dotted with expanses of water Monday. Officials say rivers in the area may not crest for several more days.

6:10 PM: Authorities in Virginia say one person is dead after an apparent tornado touched down in the Richmond area and caused a building to collapse, according to the Associated Press.

Chesterfield Fire/EMS spokesman Lt. Jason Elmore said a second person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries Monday, and that all the people at Old Dominion Flooring have been accounted for.

Dominion Energy reported 6,000 customers in the Richmond area were without power due to Monday’s storm.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jeff Caldwell said his agency considers the storms part of the remnants of Hurricane Florence, which left flooding rains across much of North Carolina over the weekend.

Caldwell said the department is tracking at least seven potential tornadoes in the Richmond area. He said the tornadoes still need to be confirmed by the National Weather Service.

5:55 PM: New York Emergency Management crews carry out welfare checks in Pollocksville, North Carolina.

5:34 PM: The Great Pee Dee River in South Carolina, continues to rise, threatening homes around the area. “Officials tell me the full extent of the water level may not be realized until Thursday,” says the Associated Press’ Meg Kinnard.

5:29 PM: According to the Associated Press, a mission to observe flooding in northeastern South Carolina has turned into a rescue mission after Gov. Henry McMaster spotted a pair stranded on a flooded vehicle.

McMaster was touring portions of Chesterfield County in a National Guard helicopter on Monday when he spotted two people lying down on a vehicle nearly completely submerged in rushing floodwaters. Sheriff Jay Brooks radioed to the ground to dispatch a rescue crew.

A few moments later, McMaster asked Guardsmen to land the chopper to observe the rescue. On the ground, he watched as the two people safely got into a rescue boat and flashed him a thumbs up.

McMaster says officials in this area have told him local water sources in this area are nearly 10 inches (25 centimeters) higher than normal. Officials expect as much as a foot more as river basins absorb more water flowing into the state from North Carolina following Florence’s torrential rains.

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

The Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina chose to evacuate its residential center in Lake Waccamaw on Wednesday. They had hoped to return on Monday, but their facility is about 40 miles west of Wilmington and has been hit with heavy flooding, damaging a few buildings. Vice President Tom Huggins said they hope to return on Thursday.

Chaplin Joe Kennedy said most of the children range in age from 13 to 18.

He says most of the children are from the flat, coastal regions of North Carolina and had never seen mountains before. A few of them went on hikes and have helped clean the trails of debris from the storm.

5:21 PM: A tornado ripped the roof off an automobile parts shop in Richmond, Virginia, as remnants of Florence continue to lash the area.

5:14 PM: Florence’s remnants have raised the Four Mile Run by at least five feet, meteorologist Ryan Miller estimates.

5:11 PM: An economic consulting firm says Hurricane Florence may result in between $17 billion and $22 billion in lost economic output and property damage, per the Associated Press. That would put Florence in the Top 10 of costliest hurricanes to hit the United States.

Economists at Moody’s Analytics caution that this estimate could be revised significantly higher as more information comes in on the extent of inland flooding.

The consulting firm says it is putting property losses at between $16 billion and $20 billion and lost economic output at between $1 billion and $2 billion. The total cost of hurricanes has been rising because of increased construction in coastal areas and more severe flooding associated with rising sea levels.

5:07 PM: ABC News reports “dozens” of pets have been adopted across the Carolinas after being abandoned in shelters.

5:00 PM: Midlothian, Virginia, experiences a tornado, one of several, according to ABC 13 News.

4:50 PM: North Carolina National Guard rescuers and FEMA members help evacuate residents of Lumberton.

Members of police and North Carolina National Guard assist a woman, eight months pregnant in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of police and North Carolina National Guard assist a woman, eight months pregnant in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of FEMA Search and Rescue Task Force search to recover people in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of police and North Carolina National Guard assist a woman, eight months pregnant in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of police and North Carolina National Guard assist a woman, eight months pregnant in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of police and North Carolina National Guard assist a woman, eight months pregnant in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A house is surrounded by water in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the police speak to a man outside a house surrounded by water in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

4:30 PM: The North Carolina Highway Patrol says rains spawned by Hurricane Florence are to blame for a fatal crash which killed a Florida truck driver, per the Associated Press.

First Sgt. J.E. Dowdle said 56-year-old Orville King III of Jacksonville, Florida, was driving north on Interstate 85 near Kings Mountain on Sunday. Dowdle said a car was passing King in the left lane when both vehicles hydroplaned. King slid off the right side of the road and struck a tree.

Dowdle said the accident was the worst he’d seen in his career. He said the 18-wheeler split in half and King died at the scene. The trooper said the other driver wasn’t hurt.

Kings Mountain is about 30 miles west of Charlotte.

4:15 PM: North Carolina family caught in rising floodwater is rescued by an airboat crew.

4:15 PM: Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has 300 people on the ground and is ready to go into places such as Wilmington, North Carolina, as soon as it is safe to do so, reports the Associated Press.

Nielsen spoke Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina, before surveying flood damage in Kinston.

Nielsen said she briefed President Donald Trump on Florence response and recovery efforts in the Carolinas on Monday morning. She said the president would arrive himself as soon as it was safe, so as to not disrupt any lifesaving operations.

She urged evacuees to stay where they are until local officials say the danger of more flooding has passed. She also warned people about the dangers of walking or driving in flooded areas.

 

Federal officials so far have not requested the aid of two U.S. Navy ships that are ready to help with hurricane recovery efforts.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said Monday that current needs are being met through the National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies.

The National Guard said more than 6,000 personnel have gone to North Carolina and South Carolina. Another 2,000 are on standby. The U.S. Coast Guard said more than 3,000 of its members are responding.

The Navy ships are ready to send in hundreds of Marines and sailors.

FEMA spokesman John Mills said emergency officials still want those ships positioned off the coast to be “ready and available to go in case the situation becomes more dire.”

4:00 PM: A tornado has touched down just outside of Richmond, Virginia — at least the second tornado to hit the state as the remnants of Hurricane Florence passes through, reports the Associated Press.

The National Weather Service said on Twitter that a confirmed tornado was on the ground in Chesterfield County Monday afternoon. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The county school system said all students in county schools were sheltered in place.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management said earlier that a tornado damaged three properties in Mecklenberg County, which is near the border with North Carolina.

Large swaths of the state have been under flash-flood and tornado watches and warnings as Florence moves north through the state.

3:50 PM: U.S. Coast Guard members predict North Carolina will experiencing more rising flood waters over the next 48 hours.

3:42 PM: Lumberton North Carolina Fire and Rescue members evacuate a resident from his home amid rising floodwaters.

Lumberton North Carolina Fire and Rescue members help a resident walk through flooded waters in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Lumberton North Carolina Fire and Rescue members help a resident walk through flooded waters in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Lumberton North Carolina Fire and Rescue members walk through flooded waters in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Lumberton North Carolina Fire and Rescue members help a resident walk through flooded waters in Lumberton, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

3:33 PM: Virginia officials say a tornado touched down and damaged three properties in the southern part of the state near the border with North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management State Coordinator Jeff Stern said the tornado touched down in Mecklenburg County on Monday.

Stern said there were no reports of injuries, and two homes and a trailer were damaged.

Much of the western part of Virginia has been under flash-flood and tornado watches as Florence circles north.

3:31 PM: President Donald Trump says his administration “will not rest” until the “job is done” in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the Associated Press reports.

The president is offering his thoughts to the people of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and everyone else who has been affected by the storm.

Trump tells reporters at the White House that 20,000 federal personnel have been deployed. He says they are “putting their lives on the line.”

Florence is being blamed for at least 20 deaths in the Carolinas and the storm has left about 500,000 customers without power, most of them in North Carolina.

3:15 PM: Newport, North Carolina experiences flooding after Florence lashes the area.

3:07 PM: Officials say an 88-year-old man is dead after his car was swept off a North Carolina road by floodwaters, according to the Associated Press.

Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said at a news conference Monday that 88-year-old Clayborn Lee Wright of neighboring Anson County was found dead Monday morning. He says Wright’s car was swept off the road by floodwater overnight. He says the window of the car was open so he may have tried to escape.

Union County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Underwood said Wright’s death was one of two storm-related deaths in the county overnight. The other was 1-year-old Kaiden Lee-Welch, whose mother told authorities she was swept off the road by floodwaters Sunday night after driving past barricades on the way to visit relatives. She said she lost her grip on her son in the deep water.

Florence has been blamed for at least 20 deaths in the Carolinas.

2:57 PM: The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has dispatched a small team of workers onto the campus to assess damage in the wake of Hurricane Florence, per the Associated Press.

In an email sent Monday, officials said the school would remain closed through next Monday, adding that the school won’t necessarily reopen on that day. The statement said that means there will be no classes at the school this week. The statement also notes substantial progress has been made in developing a plan for what lies ahead for the school, which has an enrollment of nearly 17,000.

The email cites state and local authorities who say people should not try to return to Wilmington from outside the area, nor should they be traveling on local roads.

2:52 PM: North Carolina environmental regulators say several open-air manure pits at hog farms have failed and are spilling pollution, the Associated Press reports.

Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan said Monday that the earthen dam at one hog lagoon in Duplin County had been breached. There were also seven reports of lagoon levels going over their tops or being inundated in Jones and Pender counties.

Regan said state investigators will visit the sites as conditions allow.

The large pits at hog farms hold feces and urine from the animals to be sprayed on nearby fields.

The Associated Press published photos of a hog farm outside Trenton on Sunday where a waste pit was completely submerged under floodwaters. The N.C. Pork Council, an industry trade group, later denied there had been any reports of spills.

2:47 PM: Cajun Navy Relief president Shawn Boudreaux discusses the group’s rescue efforts across the Carolinas in wake of Florence.

2:41 PM: Photos show parts of Lumberton, North Carolina, submerged in floodwater after Florence battered the town.

Flooding is seen at a closed building on September 17, 2018 in Lumberton,North Carolina. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Flooding is seen at a closed building on September 17, 2018 in Lumberton,North Carolina. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Flooding is seen at a closed building on September 17, 2018 in Lumberton,North Carolina. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Flooding is seen on September 17, 2018 in Lumberton,North Carolina. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Alex EDELMAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

2:32 PM: Officials fear rivers in North Carolina could crest at historic levels.

2:15 PM: Residents of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, take refuge in an American Red Cross evacuation shelter.

A woman waits inside an American Red Cross evacuation shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman waits inside an American Red Cross evacuation shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A child has a drink while having breakfast inside an American Red Cross evacuation shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

People wait for food inside an American Red Cross evacuation shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A man carries his son, after he had to leave because of a fire alarm, back to a Red Cross evacuation shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk back to a Red Cross evacuation shelter, after they had to leave because of a fire alarm, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Two women sit on a bench inside a Red Cross evacuation shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman looks at her phone as she waits outside a Red Cross evacuation shelter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on September 17, 2018. – Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

2:10 PM: More scenes of U.S. Coast Guard members rescuing dogs from across the Carolinas.

2:00 PM: North Carolina’s top transportation official says there is now some access into the city of Wilmington, previously cut off by floods from former Hurricane Florence, per the Associated Press.

He did not say what road that is, and no other details were available immediately.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the crisis “continues” in his state due to flooding and tornadoes from Florence.

Cooper said at a news conference Monday that “the danger is still immediate.”

He said floodwaters continue to rise as rivers crest “and they will for days.”

Cooper said first responders have rescued and evacuated more than 2,600 people and 300 animals from flooded areas so far. He said about 484,000 people in North Carolina are without electricity.

1:50 PM: An environmental official in North Carolina says his department has received numerous reports of waste pits overflowing and being flooded at hog farms as a result of heavy rains from Florence, according to the Associated Press.

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan said Monday that a breach has been reported in Duplin County. He says the department has received five reports of lagoon levels going over their tops in Jones and Pender counties and two reports of hog lagoons being inundated by nearby bodies of water in Jones County.

Regan said department workers will reach those sites to investigate when conditions allow it.

1:45 PM: The Weather Channel’s Tevin Wooten says Lumberton, North Carolina, is currently accessible by only one road.

1:38 PM: Footage shows rescue operations in Fayetteville, North Carolina, after Florence lashes the area.

1:35 PM: Remnants of Florence shower the White House.

1:25 PM: The Associated Press reports, despite rising floodwaters due to Florence, some people across the Carolinas refuse to evacuate.

Waheeda Reese and her 14-year-old daughter, Anissa, were inside watching news reports about drowned towns all over the state and rain that hadn’t yet stopped.

“All that water is going to come this way,” Anissa said, trying to convince her mother it was time to leave. The city had taped a mandatory evacuation notice to their front door, and a friend in the fire department had called to warn: “I don’t want to have to come pick you up in a boat.”

They still had 22 hours until a deadline to go, and Waheeda wanted to stay. She pointed out the window and said, wishfully, “Look, I think the rain’s letting up.”

As the days drag on, Hurricane Florence has taken this deceptive turn: The violent winds that rattled shingles off houses and tore down trees have subsided, and the pounding rain has eased, lulling many in the storm’s path into believing they’ve already weathered the worst of it — even as rivers quietly churn and continue to rise.

Over the weekend, a military truck rolled down the mucky lane to Kevin Blades’ house 20 miles (32 kilometers) upstream from Fayetteville, near where the Cape Fear and Little rivers meet. Savage said there is particular concern about this area. Six horses were drinking from floodwater already pooling on the front lawn. Power had been out for days. The dirt road to the house was so soggy, the truck got stuck in the mud and Blades and a neighbor had to tow it out.

Blades informed the soldiers he planned to stay anyway and not to worry because he had an escape plan in mind. “If I have to,” he said, “I’ll ride the horses out of here.”

The soldiers left, the Blades played cards, the rain poured on, and the river rose.

Down the road, in the tiny town of Linden, Mayor Marie Butler woke up Sunday morning and asked her son to drive her to look at the Little River. She’d encouraged her residents to leave, but just about everyone she knows decided to stay, so she felt like she had to stay, too — to sound the alarm if the river gets close to spilling over.

“It didn’t look that bad,” she said.

“It’s going to get bad,” her son, Thurman Jackson, replied. “There’s a lot of water coming down that river.”

“I’m just praying that the Lord turns it around,” Butler said, looking up at the sky.

1:20 PM: Dramatic scene unfolds as U.S. Coast Guard rescue members airlift a man and his pet dog in North Carolina.

1:16 PM: More drone footage shows the extent of flooding in Leland, North Carolina.

12:59 PM: Below is a round-up of Monday’s front pages from across the Carolinas impacted by Florence.

12:55 PM: Despite some toppled debris, graves of veterans in New Bern, North Carolina, were untouched by Florence.

12:49 PM: WUSA9 meteorologist Melissa Nord reports a flash flood warning is in effect for the Washington, D.C.-area.

12:44 PM: Gen. Mark A. Milley surveys flood-stricken Onslow County, North Carolina.

12:41 PM: Parts of U.S. Route 17 are still flooded, preventing roadway access to Wilmington, North Carolina.

12:34 PM: North Carolina’s Yadkin River is reportedly rising near the banks and filled with debris, creating “dangerous conditions,” reports local journalist Keri Brown.

12:29 PM: Workers with the restaurant chain Waffle House are being brought in from around the country to help keep the company’s locations up and running in areas affected by Florence, reports the Associated Press.

Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer was picking up a team at the Wilmington, North Carolina, airport on Monday. Ehmer spoke to The Associated Press by phone.

Ehmer says about 150 workers had been brought in as of Monday as part of the company’s emergency response team. He says it’s part of the company’s culture to never close. The extra hands were partly needed because some local workers had to evacuate.

The chain is so well known for staying open no matter what that former Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate created the so-called Waffle House Index. Fugate used the restaurants as a benchmark for how quickly local communities could rebound from hurricanes. Under the index, a closed Waffle House was a bad sign.

Ehmer says Waffle House is having to fly some food into Wilmington, which has been cut off from road access by Florence’s floodwaters.

12:27 PM: U.S. Air Force captures footage showing flooding around Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina.

12:21 PM: Parts of U.S. Route 221 were shut down in Ashe County, North Carolina, due to slope failure.

12:16 PM: Gov. Cooper says 23 truckloads of food, water, and supplies arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina, this morning. First responders rescued and evacuating at least 2,600 people and over 300 animals.

12:07 PM: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper provides updates on Florence.

12:04 PM: New footage shows millions of fire ants continue to form dangerous “islands” in flood-stricken areas across the Carolinas.

11:57 AM: Authorities say two homes in North Carolina were slightly damaged by a suspected tornado, Associated Press reports.

Wayne County spokesman Joel Gillie said the tornado landed early Monday near Pikeville, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Goldsboro.

Gillie says no one was hurt, but the powerful winds spinning off the remnants of Florence caused major damage to the roof of one home.

11:54 AM: The Associated Press reports a rail company says it’s investigating whether heavy rains from Florence contributed to a train derailment in North Carolina.

CSX said in a news release that the derailment happened Sunday night in Anson County, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Charlotte.

The railroad company said nine locomotives and five railcars ran off the track.

The company said none of the cars was carrying hazardous materials. But some of the locomotives spilled diesel fuel and motor oil. The company says it is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the cleanup. The two train crew members were taken to local hospitals to be treated for minor injuries.

11:53 AM: A weakening Tropical Depression Florence is forecast to drop up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain over parts of the Mid-Atlantic and New England over the next few days, according to the Associated Press.

By 11 a.m. Monday, Florence was centered about 240 miles (385 kilometers) west of Charlottesville, Virginia, and moving northeast at 15 mph (24 kph).

The National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, says Florence’s top sustained winds have dropped to 25 mph (35 kph) but the system still poses an excessive rain threat.

Forecasters say tornadoes also were possible Monday from the Carolinas into parts of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Authorities say two homes in North Carolina were slightly damaged by a suspected tornado early Monday. No one was injured.

11:51 AM: The National Weather Service released preliminary Florence rainfall figures. Elizabethtown, North Carolina received more rain since the storm began than Parkersburg did between January and October.

11:46 AM: TN Valley Authority announced it will reduce releases from dams across North Carolina, including stopping spills at Cherokee and Fontana.

11:39 AM: Myrtle Beach resident Ashleigh Gilleland found a heartwarming note, along with a $5 bill and Walmart gift card on her windshield, after fleeing Florence-stricken Myrtle Beach for Sarasota, Florida.

“Saw your license plate is from South Carolina. Not sure if you evacuated from the storm, but just know Florida is praying for you and your state. When we had Irma, we evacuated to Alabama and received a similar letter on our car because out Florida license plate, so I wanted to pass it on. We understand how it feels to evacuate. God bless! Love, Chelsey,” the heartwarming note reads.

11:23 AM: Eyebrow-raising footage shows a school bus plowing through floodwaters in Durham, North Carolina.

11:23 AM: A Chick-fil-A in Garner, North Carolina, broke with longstanding company policy and opened on Sunday to help feed hungry residents affected by Florence. Franchise owners Donovan and Nikki Carless donated 500 sandwiches and 1,200 nuggets to the Red Cross, which later served the food at three shelters in the area.

11:16 AM: Univision reporter says she’s been waiting in line for two hours to purchase gas in Wilmington, North Carolina.

11:12 AM: Residents of Grifton, North Carolina, are “scrambling to prepare for the worst,” as Florence continues to move north.

11:02 AM: According to the Associated Press, a North Carolina sheriff’s office says it has recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters after his mother lost her grip on him.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office identified the boy on its Facebook page Monday as Kaiden Lee-Welch.

Spokesman Tony Underwood said a woman and her child were on their way to visit relatives when she drove past some barricades on N.C. Highway 218 in northern Union County. The woman later told authorities someone had pushed the barricades to the side a little, making her think it was OK to go through.

The woman’s car was swept off the road by the floodwaters, pinning it against a group of trees. She was able to free 1-year-old Kaiden Lee-Welch from his car seat and escape. But the waters were deep, and Underwood said the woman lost her grip and her son was swept away.

10:15 AM: MH-60T Jayhawk Helicopter crew members evacuate residents of Rocky Point, North Carolina, after heavy flooding hits the area. “A total of 26 adults, 11 children, seven dogs and four cats were evacuated from the neighborhood,” the U.S. Coast Guard reports.

10:08 AM: Florence has left about 500,000 customers without power, most of them in North Carolina, per the Associated Press.

About 467,000 customers were without service in North Carolina, including in the Wilmington area, which is surrounded by floodwaters and has been cut off.

About 17,000 customers were without service in South Carolina, mostly in northeastern South Carolina near the North Carolina state line.

About 12,000 customers were without service in Virginia. Most of those were the southwestern part of the state.

10:05 AM: The devastating flooding in North Carolina from Florence has raised concerns about whether some dams will be able to hold up under the strain, per the Associated Press.

According to data obtained by The Associated Press, the state has 1,445 dams rated high hazard. That’s out of a total of about 5,700 dams that range from large federal ones to small privately owned ones.

A high hazard classification means a failure could be likely to cause the loss of one or more human lives.

The data show that of the state’s high-hazard dams, 185 had conditions of poor or unsatisfactory during recent inspections.

The data comes from the National Inventory of Dams.

10:00 AM: With Wilmington cut off from the rest of North Carolina by still-rising floodwaters from Florence, officials plan to airlift food and water to the city of nearly 120,000 people as rescuers elsewhere pull inland residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers, according to the Associated Press.

The spreading disaster claimed additional lives Sunday, with at least 17 people confirmed dead, and the nation’s top emergency official said other states were in the path this week.

“Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina … but we’re also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to Ohio as the system exits out,” Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday on Fox News.

In Wilmington, the state’s eighth-largest city, residents waited for hours outside stores and restaurants for basic necessities like water. Police guarded the door of one store, and only 10 people were allowed inside at a time.

County commission chairman Woody White said officials were planning for food and water to be flown into the coastal city.

“Our roads are flooded,” he said. “There is no access to Wilmington.”

About 70 miles away from the coast, residents near the Lumber River stepped from their homes directly into boats floating in their front yards; river forecasts showed the scene could be repeated in towns as far as 250 miles inland as waters rise for days.

In Anson County, east of Charlotte, a train derailed on Sunday evening, but it wasn’t clear whether it was storm-related or if anyone was injured. Several cars of a CSX train derailed in Anson County, east of the state’s largest city of Charlotte, WBTV reported.

The derailment led to at least one road closure. Officials have reported flooding caused by Tropical Storm Florence in Union County, located between Charlotte and Anson County.

Florence was still massive, despite being downgraded to a tropical depression. Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six states, with North and South Carolina in the bulls-eye.

9:20 AM: The National Weather Service’s Raleigh outpost observed a “one minute period” of sunshine. “Last time we had sun was on Wednesday,” the agency tweeted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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