At Least 5 Dead from Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

Dozens more were pulled from a collapsed motel.

There have been numerous calls for fallen trees, according to officials, however they are not aware of any others where people are trapped. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU". Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks.

The dead included a mother and baby who were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

A fallen tree lies atop the crushed roof of a fast food restaurant after the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.

As it stands, Florence is now a Category two hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 177 km/h.

The National Hurricane Center said the area should also expect "life-threatening" storm surges, hurricane-strength wind gusts and "catastrophic" fresh water flooding as Hurricane Florence slowly churns inland.

Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, with winds far slower than the fearsome 150 miles per hour of just a few days ago.

Hurricane Florence has caused some damage to Wilmington International Airport, said Gary Broughton, the airport's deputy director.

"I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked", he said.

Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the Category 1 hurricane is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.

Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 meter).

Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of North and SC.

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"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday.

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

At times, Florence was moving forward no faster than a human can walk, and it has remained such a wide storm that its counter-clockwise winds keep scooping up massive amounts of moisture from the sea. North of the landfall, another 150 people near the town of New Bern required rescue from floods along the Neuse River. Thousands of soldiers from their National Guard forces have been mobilized.

Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

Earlier Friday, most Midlands counties were placed under a storm watch or warning, including Richland and Lexington counties - which were issued a tropical storm warning.

As Florence moves further inland over the coming days, the storm is expected to gradually weaken.

A state of emergency was declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 10 centimetres of water, he calculated.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

In Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down, trees and power lines were down and many windows had been broken. Roof shingles were peeled off a hotel. Wind gusts of 105 miles per hour - the highest recorded since 1958 - were reported in Wilmington Friday morning. Nationwide, airlines cancelled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.

One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now". As Cooper said, "There's nowhere for the water to go".

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