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Trump approves disaster relief funds as Florence continues to pound Carolinas

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Will Racke, DCNF

President Donald Trump has issued a federal disaster declaration for North Carolina, the White House said Saturday morning, as the slow-moving tropical storm Florence continued to dump rain over the Carolinas.

The declaration will make federal funds available for people in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender, according to the White House.

Federal assistance typically consists of grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover property losses, and emergency funds to supplement state and local governments.

The declaration came as Florence, which made landfall Friday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, slowly lumbered inland from the North Carolina coast. The 400-mile wide storm is pouring dangerous amounts of rain and threatens “catastrophic flooding” across vast swaths of both North and South Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Some parts of North and South Carolina can expect an additional 10 to 15 inches of rain, with totals reaching between 30 and 40 inches in the most heavily affected areas.

As of early Saturday morning, Florence had left 740,000 people in North Carolina and 163,000 in South Carolina without power, the Associated Press reported. At least five people have been killed in the storm, including an infant.

Florence is “relentless and excruciating and very slow,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, according to CNN.

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