The longest week: Carolinas worn out by Florence

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"We understand that a lot of them are losing their houses", said Sgt. Derek Vollmer of St. Cloud, another crew member, adding those rescued "seemed very thankful". "This is a tough hurricane", Trump said.

Brandon Echavarrieta struggled to stay composed as he described life post-Florence: no power for days, rotted meat in the freezer, no water or food and just one bath in a week.

In South Carolina, two women died on Tuesday evening (Wednesday NZT) after a van taking the mental health patients from one facility to another was overtaken by rising floodwaters near the Little Pee Dee River, authorities said.

The Trent River in southeast North Carolina, before and after Hurricane Florence.

Donald Trump told a Hurricane Florence victim whose home was destroyed by the storm 'At least you got a nice boat out of the deal'. That has disrupted efforts to restore power, clear roads, and allow evacuated residents to go home.

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The county has opened emergency shelters in Florence, Lake City, Johnsonville and Coward.

"There is a strong potential that those who live within the 1-mile evacuation area of the Cape Fear River will be impacted by flooding", the city said in a statement. "We'll then be heading to South Carolina", Trump told reporters before leaving the nation's capitol on Wednesday.

To the north in Georgetown County, water continued to drain into the five rivers and several reservoirs that run through the county of 60,000 people as officials prepared to hand out thousands of sandbags on Saturday.

Thousands of rescues have taken place in the Carolinas.

After submerging North Carolina with almost 3 feet of rain, the storm dumped more than 6.5 inches of rain in the Northeast, where it caused flash flooding.

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The incredible volume of rain that fell over North Carolina from Hurricane Florence, almost 9 trillion gallons, has utterly changed the landscape, especially in the southeast part of the state, where up to 36 inches of rain fell.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said 16 rivers were at major flood stage Tuesday with three more expected to peak by Thursday.

Florence is blamed for at least 42 deaths in the Carolinas and Virginia, including that of an 81-year-old whose body was found in a submerged pickup truck in SC.

At least 27 of the deaths happened in North Carolina. Some rivers had still not crested by Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

As the storm roared ashore, it unleashed a huge surge of ocean water that swamped some coastal areas such as New Bern, North Carolina.

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