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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

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

The Olympic events to watch today

U.S. diver Krysten Palmer. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

5 events to watch today...
  • 🏃 Track & Field: Watch the men’s 100m final at 8:50 a.m. ET on nbcolympics.com
  • 🏐 Men’s volleyball: USA plays Argentina in the group stage at 8:45 a.m. on NBC.
  • 🤸 Gymnastics event finals: Watch the replay of the men's floor exercise and pommel horse, as well as the women's vault and uneven bars starting at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
  • 🤽Men's water polo: USA takes on Greece in group play at 10:30 p.m. ET on CNBC.
  • 🏊Women's springboard final: Watch the replay tonight on NBC.

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

Team USA's Ryan Murphy, Zach Apple, Michael Andrew and Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning gold in the final of the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Aug. 1. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Day nine of the Tokyo Olympic Games Sunday saw the final day of swimming competition end with a historic win for Team USA.

The big picture: The U.S. men's 4x100-meter medley relay team set a new record world as they won the final and Caeleb Dressel earned a fifth gold — becoming the fifth American to do so. Team USA's Bobby Finke won the 1,500-meter freestyle.

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