Deadly storm Florence moved across western North Carolina early on Monday and continued to dump rain that has nowhere to go except to swell rivers, flood highways and homes, and threaten more lives as it heads towards Virginia and New England.
For the water-logged Carolinas, "the worst is yet to come" as river levels rise to historic levels, said Zach Taylor, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service.
NWS: We continue to emphasize this danger. The rains may have ended across most of North Carolina, but rivers will continue to rise.
"The soil is soaked and can't absorb any more rain, so that water has to go somewhere, unfortunately," he said. "Those rivers are going to start to crest later today and Tuesday and maybe longer."
Flash floods, landslide warnings and "prolonged significant river flooding" throughout the region will continue for the next few days, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
The coastal city of Wilmington remained cut off by high flood waters early on Monday, tens of thousands of homes were damaged and at least 17 deaths were reported in North and South Carolina.
Florence, a onetime hurricane that weakened to a tropical depression by Sunday, is expected to decline in force again on Monday before re-intensifying on Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.