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Members of Colorado Task Force 1, on the swift water team, head out to check on residents during Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Historic rainfall continues to wreak havoc in the Carolinas, where all-time rainfall records have already been broken. A swath of land between Wilmington and New Bern, North Carolina, is closing in on 40 inches of rainfall, as the heaviest rains begin to shift into a new, treacherous area: the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The big picture: The National Weather Service continues to warn of "catastrophic" and "life-threatening" flash flooding on Sunday as coastal North Carolina receives up to another half a foot of rain, since the circulation around the storm is still pulling in copious amounts of Atlantic moisture. The storm has killed at least a dozen people so far, and this number is likely to rise.

What's next: The heaviest rains are sliding to the northwest into higher terrain, which could yield higher rainfall rates and a high risk of mudslides and flash flooding in northwestern North Carolina and southwest Virginia. During the first part of the week, flooding is likely to spread from the Carolinas to the Appalachians, northwest Mid-Atlantic (possibly including parts of the Washington, D.C. area), and on north into New England.

Rainfall totals: Rainfall totals as of Sunday evening show the peak amount stands at 33.89 inches in Swansboro, North Carolina, which sets a record for the greatest amount of rain ever to fall from a tropical storm or hurricane in the state. It is also a 2-day and 3-day all-time rainfall record for the state.

  • North Carolina is now the third state to set all-time rainfall records in the past year, joining Hawaii (Hurricane Lane) and Texas (Hurricane Harvey).
  • Rivers will take several days to crest — many of them at record high levels — particularly in eastern North Carolina.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
17 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.