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Parts of a South Carolina neighborhood are flooded from Hurricane Florence. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

After record-shattering rainfall from Hurricane Florence, rivers in North Carolina are continuing to rise to never-before-seen levels, inundating entire communities and prompting thousands to hastily evacuate. At least 23 people have perished in the storm and its aftermath so far, and this number is likely to rise.

The big picture: Florence, along with Hurricane Harvey that struck Texas last year, has finally confirmed that measuring a hurricane's intensity based solely on its winds is misleading at best. Florence, for example, set all-time rainfall records for any tropical storm or hurricane in North and South Carolina, and it has sent many rivers rising to record levels.

By the numbers:
  • 4: Number of states that have broken all-time rainfall records for tropical storms or hurricanes over the past year.
  • 35.93 inches: Rainfall total in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, now the record for the state from any tropical weather system, as well as a record 2-day and 3-day total statewide.
  • 34 inches: Rainfall total in Swansboro, North Carolina.
  • 61.8 feet: The height at which the Cape Fear River is forecast to crest in Fayetteville, North Carolina, this week. This is just one of the many waterways that is prompting evacuations, as the river is rising by about 50 feet from its pre-storm level. The heightened river level is high enough to send water careening into neighborhoods around it and possibly into parts of the city.
  • 24.2 feet: The forecast crest for the Cape Fear River near Burgaw, North Carolina. This would also set a record, beating the roughly 2-foot-benchmark set in 1999.
  • 23.02 inches: Rainfall total in Wilmington, North Carolina, making this the wettest single weather event ever observed there.
  • 23.81 inches: Rainfall total in Loris, South Carolina, which set a record for the heaviest amount of rainfall from any tropical weather system in state history.
  • 86.22 inches: Amount of rain that has fallen in Wilmington, North Carolina, so far this year, making it the city's wettest year, with three months still remaining in 2018. "It is possible the annual rainfall total will end up over 100 inches in Wilmington," the NWS noted in a statement on Monday morning.
  • 0.1%: Chance of such heavy rainfall amounts occurring in any given year, per the National Weather Service, making this yet another 1-in-1,000-year event.

What we're watching: the city of Wilmington, which has been battered for hours by tropical storm force and hurricane force winds. It was cut off from the rest of the world on Sunday night and Monday, with flooding to the west, north and south. Access to roads and ports may be restored by Monday afternoon.

  • In Lumberton, North Carolina, officials are rushing to bolster a levee that is in danger of failing. Extensive flooding also occurred there during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The bottom line: Unlike a hurricane's dramatic winds, heavy inland rains and freshwater flooding is a slow-moving, creeping disaster that unfolds over days.

Go deeper: The ties between Hurricane Florence and climate change; Florence's catastrophic, deadly flooding worsens in Carolinas

Go deeper

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

2 hours ago - Technology

Ex-N.Y. Post digital chief files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Richard B. Levine) (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Former New York Post editor Michelle Gotthelf is suing her former employer, its parent company News Corp. and two editors, alleging she was reprimanded after complaining to senior executives that she was sexually harassed by retired N.Y. Post editor-in-chief Col Allan. The N.Y. Post issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: "I felt that I owed it to myself and I owed it to the news organization and the people who answered to me," Gotthelf, who was a long time editor at the N.Y. Post, told Axios in an interview.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Airlines warn of flight cancellations amid 5G rollout concerns

Emirates SkyCargo airline Boeing 777F aircraft. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Emirates and Delta airlines announced Tuesday that the planned rollout of 5G services at certain American airports could affect flights.

Driving the news: AT&T and Verizon announced earlier Tuesday that they would delay this week's scheduled rollout of 5G signals near a limited number of airports due to continued concerns from the aviation industry.

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