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Tropical Storm Florence death toll rises, remains dangerous storm

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National Hurricane Center
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Tropical Storm Florence

Tropical Storm Florence is gradually weakening, but it's barely moving and continuing to dump excessive amounts of rain on the Carolinas creeping along at about 2 miles per hour.  Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Vi Lyles says they're preparing for days of rainfall. 

"We’re expecting approximately 12 inches of rain over the next 3 days and that will break our record from the prior hurricane in 2008, “ said Lyles.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is still causing catastrophic flooding in both North and South Carolina after making landfall about 24 hours ago. Florence will likely be downgraded to a tropical depression before the end of the day, but that won't stop the rain. The region can expect at least two more days of heavy rainfall.   

Florence is leaving a trail of destruction as it slowly moves over South Carolina.  The storm has killed at least seven people.  Officials in Carteret County, North Carolina said this morning that two people had died on Harkers Island.  Those deaths are in addition to the five confirmed yesterday.  Those victims included a mother and her infant who were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Over 20-thousand people are in Red Cross shelters as Tropical Storm Florence batters the Southeast.  Over 200 Red Cross shelters have been set up in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Maryland.  The Red Cross has served around 50-thousand meals and snacks in the Carolinas and has mobilized almost 100 emergency response vehicles filled with supplies.  Dangerous storm surge, heavy rain and intense winds continue to pummel the region as Florence slowly moves inland.