tv CNN Newsroom With Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul CNN September 15, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT
happy to have you here. we are watching tropical storm florence moving at a mere 2 miles per hour. essentially parked on top of the carolinas now. i am christi paul. victor blackwell is in the thick of it in myrtle beach, south carolina. victor, how is it going? >> reporter: well the wind and rain are coming down, blowing us across here. the gusts occasionally are
enough to make you shift your stance. nothing as strong as we saw in north carolina. now we learned there are two additional deaths attributed to hurricane and now tropical storm florence, the two additional deaths we learned in the last few moments in cat rack county southeast of new bern where there have been hundreds of rescues. some waiting to be pulled out of their homes and there are 4200 homes there damaged or flooded. that coming from the mayor of new bern. in south carolina, the major concern is water, swelling of creeks and rivers that flooded north carolina start to pass through some of the estuaries and creeks. nick valencia is about 20 miles from me in conway in an area prone to flooding.
they're proving water that's coming through will be a challenge for them. nick, what are you seeing? >> reporter: it is challenging now for local officials. they shut down this road. this is probably the worst of it in conway. as you mention, 20 miles from where you are, victor. check out this house. we have been showing it to you all morning long. in the last two hours since we have been out here, the water level has gone up five or six inches or so. i will take you to this side of the road, if you want to pan around, that water was not there on the road when we got here, not as significant as now. it is slowly starting to creep towards us as minutes and hours tick by. t they're worried the river will swell and put parts underwater. i wouldn't be surprised if this road will be underwater. the police are worried as it
comes from north carolina and drains to south carolina that in the next 3 to 5 days. seeing rivers, tributaries, residents. i know you're probably worried about them at home. they have evacuated from as far as we can tell. we have seen some residents come and check on friends, property. we have seen other emergency vehicles. the real concern is rain is continuing to fall steadily. it is not a significant amount of rain, but enough to make this house in danger of getting its first floor flooded. victor? >> i understand the roads are starting to flood as well, right? >> reporter: that's right. the road, let's walk down the road, guys. there's a bit of a drop off point, there's a divot in the
road. shows you how much water has gathered and collected. as we walk this roadway, we were looking towards the end of it, it looks like a bridge, and that water is slowly but steadily coming towards us. we're going to try to keep an eye on it, see how much it creeps towards it. it is a big concern. local emergency manager saying this is a spot that flooded in 1999 during floyd and hurricane matthew. they're very worried about it today as well. >> nick valencia in conway. you be safe. let's go to lumberton, north carolina, where polo sandoval is near the river. as nick referenced the 1999 flooding here, people there have to think back to hurricane matthew and flooding they faced, they're seeing the threat of
that again. >> reporter: that was only two years ago, victor. most of the residents have experienced that flooding already. the lumber river is on the rise. officials telling me it is about 11 to 12 feet. flood stage is 13 feet. you can imagine we do expect to hit flood stage in the next hour or two. the concern is that the river level here will continue to rise. what we have seen here, residents are keeping a close eye on water levels. people say their belongings are packed, especially those near the river, prepared to go in a moment's notice. many of them coming out to see for themselves, engage with the situation. the river forecast shows a major flood stage by tomorrow. that gives you an idea all of that rain that florence dumped has to go somewhere as nick mentioned. it makes its way to streams, creeks, and major rivers. that's what people are worried about. about 18 miles inland it is not
so much about the winds, they have been spared that, but post florence flooding they're really worried about, especially those that experienced matthew only two years ago, victor. >> polo sandoval in lumberton, north carolina. thank you. you and the crew be safe as well. if there are communities here that are not dealing with flooding or don't have damage in their immediate neighborhood, there's a good chance they're facing power outages, more than 900,000, close to 950,000 customers across north and south carolina are without power. those aren't 950,000 people, customers, there may be many people living in a single house. we have got on the phone jeff brooks with duke energy. i would like to ask you how many customers are yours? >> good morning. about 550,000 of those customers are ours and we have seen
numbers beginning to climb in south carolina as florence makes her way through the state and southern counties of north carolina. that's on top of all of the coastal counties in which pretty much every customer is out for extended periods. so we have a lot of outages, we're seeing it continue to climb. the challenge is that our crews are sheltering like citizens have. we haven't been able to be safely in the field, doing assessments and work. that work is still just beginning. so there's a lot of work ahead. we'll be able to make progress. >> what's the threshold for your workers to get out. sustained winds are too stiff to probably get people out. what are you looking for? >> need to be below 40 miles per hour, they're using bucket trucks and other heavy equipment, we want them to be safe, they're working with high voltage electricity. as winds get below that threshold, crews are out to begin the assessment process.
it is already started in some counties and coastal counties to the north. but if the storm is moving slowly, it will be some time before we get that. you mentioned earlier, we are running concurrent with rising flood waters. now we're beginning to see instances, i-40 has a closure to wilmington. as you move crews in to assist with restorations, that flooding creates real challenges getting crews where they need to be. >> do you have resources, have crews available that once winds die down, you'll get people back online and get power back quickly? >> we have the largest deployment in the history of duke energy now in the carolinas ready to respond. more than 20,000 line workers, support teams at more than 30 staging sites around the impacted areas, so as storm conditions move out, we move crews in, they begin their work,
we will be working there until everybody is restored. >> jeff brooks with duke energy. thank you so much. i know your teams are working hard or waiting to get out to work to get people power back. thank you for speaking with us this morning. chad myers in the severe weather center. he wants to wait until winds dip below 40 miles per hour to get people back online. how long will they have to wait for winds to die down and move on? this is moving at i call it lazy walker's pace, 2 miles per hour. >> right, exactly. it depends where you are in one of these bands. closer to the eye or center on land, it is a little less. every time you get a batch of rain off the ocean, that wind will pick up just like if you're in a category 2 hurricane, the outer bands feel more rain. it transitions wind from above
to the surface because of rainfall itself and then winds blow. we could still be talking another ten hours before some of these crews get buckets in the air to try to get lines back up on those poles. so here's the radar now. myrtle beach and just west of you, that's where the center of the eye is. conway saw heavier rainfall earlier. still, this area through here is the fire hose of rain we haven't been able to get away from. it hasn't moved for 24 hours. we now know there are spots that have 30 inches of rain already on the ground in places that are still flooding. flash flood emergencies going on here. officials saying don't leave your home, it is that dangerous. if you're not in danger in your home, please don't leave it. we don't need you on the roadways, it is simply that bad. everywhere you see purple, that's a foot of rain or more. everywhere you see white, two feet of rain or more. and that's still to come. slightly good news with the
forecast. even though you have convection in the ocean, trying to push in more rain here. because the eye, center, is going to slightly fly to the west a bit, so will this batch of rain, and it will move closer to wilmington and that area. i know wilmington, you don't need it either, but we need to spread it out a little bit because if we don't, we're never going to catch up, we'll have 45 inches of rain in one spot and flooding will be as bad as we've seen no matter what storm since the europeans came to america. it will be simply that bad. the rain is here now, it will shift east and south and that puts myrtle beach back into flooding. we already know the river that we were talking about in conway, we are going to see it go up 11 feet from where it is now. what nick valencia was seeing will be under a lot more water not far from now, two days from now as it rolls downhill. victor? >> wow.
all right. chad myers for us there. chad, thank you so much. as we talk about south carolina and the wind and rain here, the story as chad said is still happening, the storm is still battering north carolina. i want you to listen to something that a spokesperson for fema said in the last hour, a warning to everyone there in north carolina. >> somebody said the other day, it is like being stalked by a turtle, it will not move up the coast, get out of the way. we continue to get copious amounts of rain. we want to encourage the residents, not just on the coast but inland and looking at the path of the storm as it moves into more northern states, it is going to effect a lot. >> the path of the storm is taking its sweet time getting on the path, heading west and back up further north, christi. we'll continue special live coverage of now tropical storm
florence with sustained winds of 50 to 55 miles per hour. but for now, send it back to you in atlanta. >> all right. thank you so much. giving us a real sense of what's going on there and the bigger picture of what is to come, not just in the next two hours but the next few days. i know that you watch this and sometimes think i want to help somehow. if you want to give aid of some kind to the people impacted by hurricane florence, there are ways to donate. you can give blood, get in touch with charities that are responding. visit cnn.com/impact. that will give you more ways to help. and thank you for doing so. president trump's former campaign chairman, he's flipped. paul manafort telling the special counsel now he will cooperate. what does this mean for president trump? stay close. to make me feel sluggish but now, i take metamucil every day. it traps and removes the waste that weighs me down, so i feel lighter.
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chad myers described what's coming to the carolinas. we're going to continue watching tropical storm florence. first of all, one of the big stories we are focusing on that hit recently is the huge wind, seeming to be wind for russian special counsel. talking former trump campaign chairman paul manafort who stood before a federal judge yesterday, said three very important words here, i plead guilty. this is part of a plea deal. he will cooperate with the special counsel russia probe. here's sara murray. >> reporter: paul manafort striking a plea deal. manafort pled guilty in washington, d.c. friday to one count of conspiracy against the u.s. and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, after attempts to tamper with witnesses according to court filings. manafort agreeing to cooperate fully, truthfully, completely on any and all matters the
government deems relevant, according to the plea agreement. it is still unclear what prosecutors want from manafort, but the agreement requires him to turn over documents, testify in court proceedings, and provide interviews to the special counsel. manafort even waived his right to have lawyers present for the interviews. the plea deal comes after manafort was convicted on 8 counts of bank and tax fraud crimes in virginia, facing another trial in d.c. in exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors dropped a number of outstanding charges in d.c. and virginia. president trump's allies quickly distanced him from manafort's legal activities which were related to manafort's business dealings rather than his campaign work. trump's lawyer, rudy guiliani, saying once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with president trump or the trump campaign. the reason, the president did nothing wrong. still, the newest is a blow for the president. he decried mueller's probe as a witch hunt, that even as mueller got guilty please from manafort,
trump's former campaign chairman, campaign deputy rick gates and former national security adviser michael flynn, as for michael cohen, he pled guilty to charges in new york. sara murray, cnn, washington. >> thank you. a decades old assault accusation against supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. he denies the allegation. it comes at a critical juncture. here is ari and devideoing with more. >> reporter: a woman alleges brett kavanaugh assaulted her in high school in the '80s. the woman hasn't gone public with the allegations but sent a letter to dianne feinstein, the top democrat on the senate judiciary committee. feinstein said friday the individual requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further. feinstein redacted the name and
referred the letter to the fbi. brett kavanaugh issued a statement strongly denying the allegations. he says i categorically, unequivocally deny this allegation, i did not do this back in high school or at any time. in the letter, the woman alleges that kavanaugh physically pushed her in a bedroom and along with another male locked the door from inside, they put on loud music. she alleged the two teens were drunk, at one point saying kavanaugh was on top of her with a hand over her mouth. she feared she was in danger. she doesn't say if she reported it to authorities, but says she sought medical attention, but didn't provide details or timing on that. republicans note the letter was sent in late july but it was only referred to the fbi this week close to the upcoming vote. one democratic aid said while some are frustrated that dianne feinstein didn't tell them about
the allegations in advance, another said she was in a tough spot. the woman would not come forward with the allegation. again, brett kavanaugh released a statement denying all of this. i am victor blackwell, live in myrtle beach. tropical storm florence is virtually parked over north and south carolina. we're getting new reports of damage. we'll bring you those reports in just a moment. stay with us. our mission is to provide complete, balanced nutrition... for strength and energy! whoo-hoo! great-tasting ensure. with nine grams of protein and twenty-six vitamins and minerals. ensure. now up to 30 grams of protein for strength and energy! are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec®. it's starts working hard at hour one. and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®.
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it is still an absolute mess in the carolinas. that green band you see on the radar only will make it worse in the next few hours. glad to have you with us. i am christi paul. victor blackwell is there in myrtle beach. you have new information for us? >> i do. we have been talking about rain that's come down on north carolina and will be coming down in the next several days. well, we just learned that north carolina has broken its all time record for rainfall during a tropical system. it was held in 1999 during hurricane floyd at 24.06 inches. well now hurricane and tropical storm florence have broken that record and may surpass it even more because this storm is not moving, christi. it is moving at virtually 2 miles per hour. when i hear 2 miles per hour, i think of the fresh prince song, 2 miles per hour, so everybody sees you.
we see hurricane and tropical storm florence. it is staying here for quite awhile and cannot move out quickly enough. >> all right. victor, thank you so much. we're going to victor in a couple of minutes here. florence slammed ashore in north carolina as a category 1 hurricane just a little more than 26 hours ago. it has since been downgraded, tropical storm. this is still dangerous. i want you to look at the fury it brought with it as it hit. >> the wind is whipping stronger than it has in the last 24 hours. >> the eye made landfall at wrightsville beach about six miles from where i am, wind speed of 90 miles per hour. >> this isn't just water coming this way. the ocean and the wind are
forcing sand up into the air. >> you look all the way down, you might be able to make it out. that is the ocean. it is not supposed to be there right now. >> that tree looks like it is about to be uprooted. we're getting strong gusts of wind. >> we are in river bend, experiencing an extraordinary amount of flooding. lot of people said they weren't expecting it to flood like this. >> i want to give you another update on something we have been going back and forth here about
some different information that was coming in. at one point we said there were seven deaths we had been told attributed to the storm. it is five deaths attributed to this storm now. two of those deaths apparently are being categorized as a murder suicide. so again, there had been seven deaths, five of them attributed to this storm in terms of a 77-year-old man who was found dead at his home, he had gone out to check on his hunting dogs. the wind knocked him down. there was a mother and infant that fell -- died when a tree fell on the home. and another man killed connecting extension cords at his house. victor, wanted to make clear the new information about death numbers that had been fluctuating a bit. >> yeah, those details coming from law enforcement. they corrected the numbers at
least to us. now five deaths attributed to the storm. let's go down to david cotton, county manager there in north carolina. good morning to you. first i understand there have been rescues across onslow county. are there still people waiting to be rescued from homes? give us an idea of the conditions there. >> sure. good morning. there are approximately 40 folks in the cue waiting to be rescued. not in imminent danger, but flood waters are rising quickly and we are working with coast guard and marine corps to deploy helicopters and swift water teams. we have had a swift water team that arrived from indiana that's already gone into service and we
are actively rescuing those folks as we speak. >> these 40 people or so, i know that's an estimate, are they in one specific locale or spread across onslow county? >> sure. for the most part we have isolated there, ten people needing rescue from one location. beyond that it is the individual homes with two people or one person. the overall conditions are really deteriorating as we speak. as you mentioned, the storm is not moving so we are moving beyond flooding like we have never seen. places not identified as being in flood plain are being flooded. homes that would have never been expected to ever see any water
damage are up into the first floor, over the roof of vehicles. it's going to be a long process of cleanup. right now we're still focused on the rescue. >> those ten that you said in one location, which city are they in, are they in unincorporated onslow? >> they are near jacksonville. it's right on the unincorporated border between jacksonville and being in the county itself. >> okay. was there a mandatory or voluntary evacuation order for your county and how many people do you believe decided to leave? >> there was. we started with a voluntary evacuation when we declared a state of emergency monday.
tuesday based on conditions and when we anticipated the storm arriving, it was actually a category four on tuesday and coming straight for the new river in the center of the county. then issued a mandatory evacuation. we did a mass transportation of those that did not have vehicles to get out in partnership with onslow county school system. that was just over 1100 individuals that caravanned to raleigh. beyond that, we were estimating those that heeded the warning in the neighborhood of 30 to 40,000. maybe more than that. but we're a county of 200,000. >> all right, thanks so much for spending a couple minutes with us. i know that you have a lot of work to do and there are still
those people waiting to be rescued. the best to you and the people there in onslow county. you said you have rescue teams from indiana coming in and hopefully they'll be able to assist shortly. again, thank you for your time. i'll let you get back to work. christi, again, this story has not moved on, the storm has not moved on solely to south carolina as we heard from the county manager there. there's still a lot of work to do in north carolina. back to you. >> a lot of people who still need to be rescued. victor blackwell, thank you so much. another former trump aide is flipping. this time we're talking about paul manafort, the same person president trump called a brave man last month for refusing to break. what does this mean? we're going to discuss it. how do you top mac & cheese? start with 100% clean ingredients. like vermont white cheddar. then... add bacon, bbq chicken, or baja blend. catering and delivery now available.
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[clap clap ding] 40 minutes past the hour. so glad to have you with us. we're going to keep our eye on florence as it makes its way further inland into the carolinas. want to talk about president trump. he is doubling down on his questioning of nearly 3,000 person death toll in puerto rico. no way, he tweeted, that the number jumped from 16 people to 64 people, and i quote here like magic to 3,000 people killed. president trump first disputed this death toll thursday. he claimed the democrats put out those numbers to make him look bad. the island's governor raised the
death toll following a study conducted by researchers at the george washington university. maria cardona is with me, and former special assistant to george w. bush. thank you for being with us. >> good morning, christi. >> good morning. >> i want to read something after all of this late last night, the governor of puerto rico had this tweet out. he said mr. president, i would very much be willing to walk you through the scientific process of the study and how gw arrived at the excess mortality number estimates. there's no reason to underscore the tragedy we have suffered in the aftermath of hurricane maria. i hope you send support that you stand with all of the u.s. citizens in puerto rico that lost loved ones. it would certainly be an act of respect and empathy. scott, is it time to switch focus from numbers to people
because there's so much that needs to be done there. >> no question. i don't understand why the president is obsessed with the number, frankly. it was a devastating storm. we all agree on both sides of the aisle, the storm one of the most devastating to hit any part of the united states ever. they had massive electrical failure, massive water failure, almost all roads were impassable, devastating by any measure. you can easily see how loss of life of magnitude found by researchers could occur. the most important thing a federal government can do in the aftermath of something like this is exactly what fema director brock long said they did, which is study it, learn from it, and update procedures and protocols for the future. so the real issue here for the president is not the numbers, not the statistical death toll, what did we learn from the aftermath of the storm, how are we applying it to future storms. that's what the american people want to hear. it would be best for him to take that messaging advice and move on. >> maria, this is very personal
to you. you have family there. what do they need there, what do you want to hear from the president, you personally? >> well, i wish that he would listen to people like scott but what we have seen from this president, he is incapable of showing respect, incapable of showing empathy. i grew up on that island. my brother lives there with his family. i saw this devastation when i was there over the summer personally. what the president just said in terms of questioning, the 3,000 and frankly people think it was more than 3,000 lives lost, i can't even begin to describe to you how offensive and hurtful it is to the american citizens, not just that live on the island but the american citizens who live in florida, who live in texas, who live in pennsylvania. guess what, elections are coming up. i think this is not only offensive and just completely ridiculous on behalf of the president but politically
stupid. >> do you agree with that? is there a risk politically for the president here? >> well, he is putting republicans in uncomfortable positions. i notice the governor of florida, rick scott, who is running for united states senate had to distance himself from the president on this issue. so his political allies like governor scott are having to take a step back from him. speaker paul ryan had to take a step back from him because everybody basically agrees that this was a devastating storm in which there was massive loss of life, and you don't want to look insensitive to that, objectively speaking, it is true. yeah, when you put your closest political allies in position of having to step away from you, you're not only making your own life hard, you're making their life hard. speaking of the raw politics, it leaves the president isolated when the rest of political america tends to agree with the facts as they have been reported by researchers. >> all right. speaking of truth, scott, since you brought it up, i want to talk to you about paul manafort.
he is now pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with mueller and his investigation. take a look here. we have a screen of the people already in the trump team who have either pleaded guilty, have plea deals, and are cooperating with mueller. we have george papadopoulos, flynn, cohen, rick gates. now add manafort to that mix. and he has agreed, the cooperation agreement he signed states he will testify fully, completely, truthfully before any and all grand juries at any and all trials of cases or other court proceedings in district of columbia and elsewhere. this is very broad. he now essentially has to talk to anybody anytime about anything it sounds like. scott, what does this mean for the president?
>> well, we don't know exactly because manafort may have information that's germane to investigations that have nothing to do with the president, or he may have information germane to things going on with the central question of the inquiry of course, was there collusion with russia which is so far unproven, alleged but unproven. even bob woodward said he looked hard for two years, found no evidence of russian collusion. it would be difficult to speculate what manafort will do. obviously his choosing to cooperate must be worry some for the white house, but he was with the campaign a short period of time, connected to things that have nothing to do with the campaign. i think before we go down the road of speculating that manafort will bring down the president, it is important to remember, he may say things about people and other situations, lobbying situations, for instance, that are completely unconnected to donald trump. >> right. in that sense we had this other mueller investigation targeting attorney greg craig, a prominent
democrat. maria, what do you make of where that's going and how many people might be sitting back right now. scott's right. there is nothing yet leading to collusion with manafort. >> that we know of. >> nothing that he is doing thus far that he has said. now that he is dipping into a democratic line, a democrat here, is there reason for democrats to be worried? >> no, not at all. in terms of what i know about the connection with greg craig has to do with his law firm doing work for some kind of foreign agent work they were not registered for for the ukraine. so again, all of this leads to the connection of paul manafort. and while i agree with scott, we don't know if paul manafort will bring down the president, i think the president is going to bring down the president because he is the one at the end of the day who has been at the center of all these connections.
clearly, paul manafort was his chairman. michael cohen, chairman of his campaign. michael cohen was his personal lawyer for years. michael flynn was his national security adviser. all of these people who have been indicted, who have pled guilty have close connections to the president, as much as he now wants to distance himself from it. so this does not spell good news for the president. clearly there have been indictments in this. again, people that pleaded guilty. of course the president is shaking in his boots. i wonder if his ridiculous, offensive statements about questioning the death toll in puerto rico are efforts to distract from all of this other stuff going on. what we do know is going into an election where everybody, including republicans, are so nervous about this president, his connection to the republican
party, i think republicans would do themselves a great service by distancing themselves finally from the president, calling him out on his incompetence. >> i'm sorry we ran out of time. good to get your perspective. thank you both. katie har tongue is in north carolina. stay close. you'll make my morning, buty the price ruin my day.ou? complicated relationship with milk? pour on the lactaid, 100% real milk, just without that annoying lactose. mmm, that's good. my dbut now, i take used tometamucil every day.sh it traps and removes the waste that weighs me down, so i feel lighter. try metamucil, and begin to feel what lighter feels like.
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in this county, they're preparing for something they don't believe they experienced before. i am kaylee hartung. we're in the waters of the cape fear river. they breached the bank, began to flow into the first property you can see here. this family lost everything in hurricane floyd when that river set a record at 22 feet. now the river is expected to crest, setting a new record of 25 feet monday. this family wanted to wait it out, see what the storm would bring. now they recognize it is time to go. you see this car here, they're literally loading up furniture, taking it out of this trailer into their car. earlier today loaded up their tractor, lawn mower, things of that nature, trying to get them to higher ground. the house they rebuilt after they lost it in hurricane floyd with this one behind me, this one built on stilts as fema
requires them to do, but with 25 foot crest from the river, they expect that water to reach the second story. so it is time to go. this county was under mandatory evacuation. county officials have not received calls for service. nobody needed to be rescued. victor, christi, we recognize there's a lot more the storm could bring. >> thank you so much. it really is the look at the next chapter of what's happening from florence. nick valencia showed us at the waccamaw river. the creeks are setting an all time record for rainfall from a trop syst tropical system, surpassing 24.06 inches and more rain to come. >> no doubt.
that sitting there 2 miles per hour is not doing anyone any favors. we're going to turn it over to erica hill in myrtle beach and alex marquardt in new york. take good care of each other. see you tomorrow. so you just walk around telling people geico could help them save money on car insurance? yea,that and homeowners, renters, motorcycle and boat insurance. huh.that's nice. what happens when you catch a fish? gecko: whoa. geico. more than just car insurance. see how much you could save at geico.com. i'm ok!
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during business hours. sleonly remfresh usesep one in threeion-powered melatonin to deliver up to 7 hours of sleep support. number one sleep doctor recommended remfresh - your nightly sleep companion. live in myrtle beach, south carolina. you can see and likely hear florence is far from done with this area and with much of the area surrounding us. this tropical storm moving at a crawl of 2 miles per hour, just sitting over the region, continuing to dump rain. we are already seeing records being very clearly washed away. in the state of north carolina, we know the rainfall record has now been broken. more than 30.5