Florence: 10 dead in NC. Stay off flooded roads, N.C. Gov. Cooper says

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At least 10 people have died in North Carolina because of Hurricane Florence, and Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents Sunday to beware of treacherous flash flooding in the days to come.

“Flood waters are still raging across our state,” Cooper said at a noon press conference.

“As this storm continues to churn through North Carolina, it has dumped more than two feet or more in many places,” Cooper said.

He said that’s enough to inundate areas that have never flooded before.

“Never drive through flooded roads. Just a few inches of water can wash your car away,” the governor warned

As of Sunday morning, there were more than 600 road closures across the state, the N.C. Department of Transportation reports.

Cooper had just returned from surveying damage in eastern North Carolina by helicopter with the U.S. Coast Guard. He saw the Cape Fear River’s water well over its banks, and farmland underwater, he said.

Cooper said he mourns the loss of 10 lives in North Carolina and “our hearts go out to the victims’ families.” He said that swift water rescues are underway and more than 900 lives have been saved.

Across the state, around 700,000 people remain without power, he said, and many are likely to be without power “for awhile.”

The National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. Sunday update that Florence continues to produce widespread heavy rains over much of the Carolinas and flash flooding and major river flooding will continue over a significant portion of North Carolina and South Carolina.

The National Weather Service warned early Sunday morning that the worst is not over yet, even as Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression.

Fourteen people have died in the Carolinas because of the storm.