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Florence lumbers inland, leaving five dead, communities flooded

Tropical storm Florence lumbered inland on Saturday (September 15), knocking down trees, flooding rivers, and dumping sheets of rain in the Carolinas where five people have died.

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm’s slow progress across North and South Carolina could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday. It was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern South Carolina.

Florence was moving west-southwest at about 5 mph (7 km/h), with its center located over eastern South Carolina. The storm is expected to turn west and then north moving through the Carolinas and the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said early on Saturday. The significant weakening was expected over the weekend.

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