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It’s Interstate 40’. Flooding from Florence keeps North Carolina highways at standstill

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Florence weakens, but threat of flooding rises - AM

Florence has killed at least 33 people since coming ashore as a hurricane on Friday, including 26 in North Carolina and six in SC.

With one of North Carolina's largest cities still mostly cut off by floodwaters from Hurricane Florence, officials prepared to begin distributing food, water and tarps to Wilmington residents as yet more people were rescued from submerged inland neighborhoods.

The EPA also says that diesel fuel leaked from a train that derailed near Lilesville, North Carolina, because the tracks were flooded.

"We believe our extensive basin closure work was instrumental in positioning us to reduce the storm's impact - water levels in many ash basins near the coast were lower as a result of our closure activity, so the basins were better able to accommodate significant rainfall", she said in a statement.

In North Carolina, transportation officials Tuesday continued advising motorists who ordinarily might take southbound I-95 from Virginia to SC that flooding has made long sections of I-95 in North Carolina impassable.

Elsewhere in North Carolina, an 88-year-old man died after his auto was swept away.

On Tuesday morning, more than 320,000 homes remained without power across North Carolina.

Across southeastern North Carolina, thousands of residents are stranded by rising waters from Florence's floods.

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Crews conducted about 700 rescues in New Hanover County, where Wilmington is located.

More than 1,100 roads were still closed across North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper said on Tuesday, including portions of Interstates 40 and 95. He said he's heard the roads are closed, that everything is flooded and no one can get through.

Col. Glenn McNeill, of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said "travel in affected areas is still extremely unsafe".

"I think the next 48 hours are going to be incredibly critical", he said. It was downgraded to a tropical storm later Friday then to a tropical depression early Sunday. Emergency workers reported rescuing and evacuating more than 2,200 people and around 575 animals, he said.

Rex Gehring, 62, was unsure what he would do with the house he bought outside Fayetteville, another town on the Cape Fear River, after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 forced its previous owner into foreclosure. Forecasters said states in the Northeast are in for as much as 10 centimetres of rain before the system moves offshore again.

Trump said nearly 20,000 military personnel and federal workers were deployed to help with the aftermath of Florence in the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic, and they would "do whatever it takes to keep the American people safe".

"BREAKING. We've observed a one-minute period of sunshine at the NWS Raleigh office", the NWS said on Twitter.

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