Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

Firefighters and rescue crews in Wilmington, North Carolina stopped to pray outside the house where a fallen tree killed a mother and her 8-month-old baby.

"WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington".

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 30 centimetres to 1 metre as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days. The father was taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.

Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins confirmed to WWAY that a woman was killed in Hempstead, Pender County after suffering a heart attack in her home.

In New Bern, North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000, located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. It also led many people to mock the reporter for his demeanor reporting on the storm.

WXII-TV reports the city of New Bern said Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way. Businesses and homes in the storm's path were boarded up and thousands of people had moved to emergency shelters by Thursday.

A severe inland flood threat is emerging as remnants of Florence pound the Carolinas with almost nonstop rain for a second day since the once major hurricane howled ashore. The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm at 4:45 p.m. but still remains unsafe.

It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

The National Hurricane Center says the high winds - combined with rain-soaked soil - will cause many trees to fall in coming days, crashing into homes, streets and onto power lines.

More than 440,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said. "The longer you have this hurricane wind flow, the longer you push that water well inland", he said.

"It went from zero to 100 real quick", he said.

Boeing evacuated several new 787-10 Dreamliner jets from its factory in North Charleston, South Carolina, to protect them from the storm. "Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you". Rainfall of up to 20 to 40 inches could fall over the next five days in some areas, forecasters say.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane on Thursday evening with peak winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h). Up to 10 feet of storm surge is expected, while some of the inlets can see up to 15 feet.

With their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

More than 615,849 customers have lost power as of 2 pm Friday, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

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