‘It’s going to be a slow-motion disaster’: 2 dead as Hurricane Joaquin gains steam, batters Carolinas with ‘historic’ rainfall

The soggy East Coast suffered through a relentlessly rainy Saturday that set records in South Carolina, swept away a home in New Jersey — and wreaked havoc in between.

The wicked storm, while far less dangerous than a potential hurricane, was blamed for two deaths: A drowning in South Carolina and a North Carolina driver killed by a falling tree in Fayetteville.

The worst of the weather pounded the Carolinas, with the heaviest one-day rainfall in state history recorded at the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport in South Carolina.

Joaquin has finally turned to the northeast and picked up forward speed, leaving the Bahamas.  Winds have increased from 125 mph back up to 130 mph, making it a category four hurricane again.THE WEATHER CHANNEL

Joaquin has finally turned to the northeast and picked up forward speed, leaving the Bahamas.  Winds have increased from 125 mph back up to 130 mph, making it a category four hurricane again.

Officials said 2.3 inches of rain pelted the airport, more than triple the previous single-day high.

“Where we normally are dealing with flooding for a few hours, we’re dealing with it in days here,” said Charleston, S.C., Police Chief Greg Mullen. The city’s downtown was closed as bridges and local roads were washed out by flooding.

While the U.S. dodged the brunt of Hurricane Joaquin, a massive manhunt was underway Saturday for a cargo ship lost off the Bahamas with a crew of 33 people — 28 Americans and five Polish nationals.

Coast Guard and Navy aircraft scoured 850 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean for the 790-foot ship that was battered by 30-foot waves.

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