Fearsome new stage begins as Florence floods inland rivers

North Carolina is bracing for what could be the next stage of the still-unfolding disaster: widespread, catastrophic river flooding from Florence.

After blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph (145 kph) winds, Florence virtually parked itself much of the weekend atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore. Storm surges, flash floods and winds have spread destruction widely and the Marines, the Coast Guard and volunteers have used boats, helicopters, and heavy-duty vehicles to conduct hundreds of rescues as of Saturday.

The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm has now climbed to 11.

Rivers are swelling toward record levels, forecaster warn, and thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring some of the most destructive flooding in North Carolina history.