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Florence's Death Toll Stands at 32 as It Weakens to a Depression

Updated: Sep 18, 2018 2:19 AM ET | Originally published: Sep 16, 2018

Florence has weakened to a tropical depression, but the death toll continues to rise with at least 32 people dead as of Tuesday. Twenty-four of those deaths were in North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.

The death toll rose Monday after two fatalities were reported in Union County, N.C., where the Sheriff's Office said it had recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who was swept away in floodwaters after his mother lost hold of him. Separately, the body of an unidentified man was found in floodwaters in Union County. The Sheriff's Office said the death was "weather related" on its Facebook page.

Although the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has downgraded Florence to a depression, it warns that "rainfall amounts will produce catastrophic flash flooding, prolonged significant river flooding, and an elevated risk for landslides in western North Carolina and far southwest Viriginia."

As of 5am ET Monday, the storm's center was around 125 miles west-southwest of Roanoke, Virginia and 145 miles west-northwest of Greensboro, North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said. It is moving at around 13 mph and is expected to speed up as it pushes northeast on Monday before tacking more to the east on Tuesday.

The additional rainfall will continue to cause flash flooding across large areas of all three states, with 5 to 10 more inches of rain expected in North Carolina, 4 to 6 more inches expected in South Carolina and 2 to 4 inches in west-central Virginia. Florence has shattered North Carolina's record for rainfall from a single storm, with more than 30 inches having fallen already. Total accumulated rainfall there could end up as high as 40 inches.

Additionally, a few tornadoes "remain possible" Sunday and Monday across North Carolina and eastern South Carolina.

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