North and South Carolina are bracing for more major flooding as of Monday, September 17, as Florence - which has been downgraded to a tropical depression since making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday - is forecast to continue to dump torrential rain across the region, portions of which have already seen up to 91.2 cm (35.9 in) of precipitation. The death toll from the storm currently stands at 20, and large swathes of the Carolinas region remain virtually impassable as of Monday due to flooding. North Carolina is the hardest-hit, with quickly rising water levels prompting the state transportation department to warn people to avoid all travel in southern, central, and eastern North Carolina due to dangerous flood conditions as of Monday. Many roads and highways have been rendered virtually impassable by floods and landslides, including portions of I-95 and I-40. Conditions have cut off access to communities across the state (e.g. Wilmington on the coast), and around 1000 water rescues have been made since the storm's arrival on Friday. In addition, massive power outages continued to be reported across the region as of Monday morning, with over 488,000 customers in North Carolina experiencing loss of power; that number stood at 16,385 in South Carolina.
Heavy rain is forecast to continue at least until Tuesday, although flood conditions may not ease until the end of the week. The National Weather Service has warned that parts of Cape Fear River will likely breach its banks in North Carolina on Monday, and the area around Fayetteville is anticipating more major flooding. The storm depression is currently forecast to continue its westward path, and will bring significant rainfall to Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city; a flash flood warning is in effect there through Monday.
Florence hit southern North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane on the morning of Friday, September 14, bringing winds of up to 144 km/h (90 mph) and storm surges as high as 3 m (10 ft). The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the largest concentration of storms typically occurring between August and October.
Individuals present in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate strong winds and heavy rain (and associated disruptions), and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities (including evacuation orders). Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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