Tornadoes in North Carolina as death toll rises to 20
AT LEAST 20 people have been killed in the Carolinas as storm Florence continues to dump huge amounts of rain, and in some cases has brought tornadoes to the region.
Two tornadoes reportedly touched down in North Carolina on Monday morning, as the region experienced heavy rainfall following the landfall of Hurricane Florence last week. Officials warned that more twisters could form imminently.
Tropical Depression Florence is still considered a dangerous storm even though it has been downgraded from its previous status as a hurricane, and officials in the Carolinas have been warning residents of potentially historic flooding as rain continues to hit the region. The death toll rose to 20 after police in Union County, North Carolina, announced that they had recovered the body of an elderly man in flood waters.
With the death toll rising, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper warned residents during a news conference that Florence has "never been more dangerous than it is right now".
"Wherever you live in North Carolina, be alert for sudden flooding," he said of the conditions, which saw widespread power outages over the weekend.
The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings in Monday, after the two confirmed tornadoes hit the area, dealing major damage to at least one home, and minor damage to another.
The heavy rains have forced officials in the Carolinas to issue mandatory evacuation notices, especially near rivers and in flood zones where the downpour has slowly brought the water level higher over the weekend.
Florence was downgraded into a tropical depression on Sunday, after having made landfall in North Carolina on Friday with 90 mph winds. The storm essentially stopped moving after making landfall, instead swirling above the US and dropping major rains in the region.
That rainfall forced officials to order the evacuation of thousands of people, as the rivers rose towards record levels across the region.
Soon after the storm made landfall, rescue workers began to receive calls and requests for help, with hundreds of people reporting they were stuck amid flooding in communities near the coast of North Carolina.
The rainfall is expected to raise the level of the Cape Fear river to a crest above the flood levels that were brought by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.