At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. We are more inland from the coast.

"This is an uninvited brute that just won't leave", Cooper said on "Today".

But weather officials have cautioned that Florence's promise of heavy rains - and the flash flooding and prolonged flooding it will cause - likely will be the storm's most risky impact, especially since the storm surges will block the usual flow of water back to the ocean.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. News stations and citizens captured footage of the waters pouring down streets and invading homes.

Florence was about 30 miles away from Wilmington as of 4 a.m.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", said Ballance, owner of a seafood restaurant that was flooded.

The storm made landfall earlier on Friday just outside Wilmington, bringing life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds.

The centre of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 0715 EDT near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 150 kilometres per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

It's about the water, not the wind, with Hurricane Florence making an extended stay along the North Carolina coast.

In all, the weather service says the greatest amounts of rain from Florence are likely in the southwestern portions of the region.

I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me.

Florence's rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolina coasts and gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods, forecasters said.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.

Governor Roy Cooper has warned of an impending disaster.

Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

One city in North Carolina has picked up more than 23 inches (58 centimetres) of rain in two days. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of North Carolina. Water was already rising in roads and buildings. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.

Canceled more than 1,300 flights along the East Coast through Friday.

The city installed 11 pumps to help deal with the river, but Mayor John Cantey said he wants people living near it to get out.

"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel.

FEMA teams were employing boats in the rescues and were determining which cases were the most severe.

"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard, that trying to get out we got thrown into trailers". More than 60 others had to be rescued as a cinderblock motel collapsed.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".

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