Flash flood fears as Florence grinds on

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Weather forecasters have warned of the risk of life-threatening flash flooding in parts of North and South Carolina, and Virginia, from storm Florence.

It has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but continues to soak the East Coast area with rain, downing trees and damaging homes.

It is slowly grinding over the eastern states, with winds of 65mph (105km/h).

Five deaths have been linked to the storm and thousands of people have been staying in emergency shelters.

Evacuation warnings were issued for 1.7 million people in the region

Report says all five deaths linked to the storm occurred in North Carolina.

The storm originally made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday morning as a category one hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center said catastrophic fresh flooding is expected in parts of bote the Carolinas.

Some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges as high as 10ft in places.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the hurricane was likely to “continue its violent grind for days” and described the severity of the downfalls as a “1,000 year event”.

According to Metrologist Ryan Maue, florence is expected to dump 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on US soil.

Almost 800,000 people are reported to be without power already in North Carolina, and officials have warned restoring electricity could take days or even weeks.

More than 20,000 residents have packed into North Carolina emergency shelters, and officials have told those still in the storm’s path to stay in place.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, officials had rescued more than 60 people overnight from a hotel that was collapsing in the storm.

Parts of New Bern, North Carolina, which is home to 30,000 people, were 10ft underwater on Friday after local rivers flooded their banks.

Report says scores of residents in the riverfront city were plucked to safety.

The Cajun Navy, a volunteer rescue group, were among those travelling by boat around the town to help people who were trapped.

Officials have warned residents against entering attics, so as to avoid drowning, unless they have a means to cut through to the roof.

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would travel to the region next week unless his trip would disrupt clean-up and rescue efforts.

Confidence Okwuchi