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Florence death toll swells to 14 as rivers rise

Members of the Nebraska Task Force 1 urban search and rescue team help load an elderly resident onto a bus Saturday night as they evacuate an assisted living facility to a church as a precaution against potential flooding the city could see from tropical storm Florence. After blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph winds, Florence virtually parked itself much of the weekend atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore.

Nebraska's specialized rescue team was called into action Saturday night as flood concerns heightened in the town of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Urban Search and Rescue Nebraska Task Force 1, which has been in the area since Thursday, helped evacuate 124 residents from an assisted-living facility to a safer location at a nearby church as Hurricane Florence continued to inundate the area with heavy rains.

Already, more than 2 feet of rain has fallen in places, and forecasters are saying there could be an additional 1½ feet by Monday.

Task force leader Roger Bonin said the evacuation of the assisted-living facility, which started at 7 p.m. and finished after midnight, was a precautionary measure as water levels in the nearby Cape Fear River continue to rise. 

As of Sunday morning, the river was at 36-40 feet, and local officials are expecting the river to crest at more than 60 feet in the next 24 to 72 hours, Bonin said. 

"They're thinking 65 feet," Bonin said of what is anticipated in the coming days. "I expect to be doing boat operations, rescues and evacuations for those that decided not to evacuate."

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Weekend editor

Alex Lantz is a sports copy editor.

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