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Florence: historic flooding predicted as storm lingers over Carolinas – live coverage

Khushbu Shah writes for the Guardian from Wilmington, North Carolina. One family there explains that they’ve faced storms before, but “It’s never been this bad.”

When Grace Tippett went to bed last night, her white Toyota RAV 4 was fine parked underneath the carport Saturday night in Forest Hills, Wilmington, North Carolina. Then her mom called.

“Good morning, she said. Come over here and find your rain boots because we have some flooding and we need to make sure everything is OK, her mom told her.

Overnight, the 17-year-old’s car was destroyed while she stayed at her grandparents’ house next door. The water that had sat behind Bill Hobbs’ garage, Tippett’s grandfather, had moved into his home, 150 feet, in a span of hours, into the basement. Early Sunday morning, the generator running on natural gas sits just a few inches

Flooding from Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina

Flooding from Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina Photograph: Khushbu Shah for the Guardian

Tippett’s own home was flooded as well, and things the teen had put into the basement for safekeeping during the hurricane were floating in brown water.

Tippett’s great aunt Mary Rose Brantham came down Thursday from her home in Ogden to brave the wind and rain with family. She’s just heard on a local news channel WECT, Cape Fear Public utility may turn off the water soon so she runs down for a quick shower.

“I haven’t washed my hair since Wednesday,” she said, as she walked out of the kitchen to get a quick shower before the water turned off.

Tippett’s mother, Kenzi Tippett, thought the water had receded already. “At one point, the water was past the driveway but it has lowered again.

The family gathered in Hobbs kitchen, discussing strategies for finding batteries for the generator and pouring water into coolers if the taps run out shortly.

“It’s never been this bad,” Kenzi said, looking out over the patio into the swamp of water that was now the backyard.

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