‘Worst is yet to come’ from Florence’s drenching rains in US

Florence kept dumping rain on North Carolina on Sunday and officials warned residents that “the worst is yet to come” from a storm that has already killed at least eight people, as rivers inland were likely to flood.

Florence, which crashed into the state as a hurricane on Friday, had weakened to a tropical depression by Sunday morning but was forecast to drop another 13cm-25cm of rain in North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The most rain so far from Florence was 86cm in Swansboro, North Carolina, a new record for a single hurricane in the state. The previous record was 61cm, set by Hurricane Floyd, which killed 56 people in 1999, said Bryce Link, a meteorologist with DTN Marine Weather, a private forecasting service.

In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people about 145km inland, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by Sunday afternoon because of the flood risk.

“If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible,” mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference on Saturday.

“The worst is yet to come,” he added.

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