Flash flood fears as Florence grinds on

Myrtle Beach South Carolina is in the path of Hurricane Florence

The centre of Tropical Storm Florence has moved into SC, and both it and North Carolina continue to face powerful winds and catastrophic flooding.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

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.

The father of the child, who was also in the house, was transported to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center with injuries, police added, without releasing the names of the casualties. Officials also said one person was electrocuted in Lenoir County while plugging in a generator in the rain, and a man died after being blown to the ground while checking on his hunting dogs.

In Pender County, a woman had a medical emergency in Hampstead and passed away early Friday morning, according to the county's Emergency Management.

Florence made its landfall at approximately 12.15pm BST (7.15am local time), with winds of about 90 miles per hour. But Florence, a Category 1 when it hit, already had pounded coastal areas for hours.

By early afternoon, its winds had weakened to 75 miles per hour, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.

Rescued: More than 400 people needed help in high waters in New Bern and Jacksonville, North Carolina. People were stuck in their cars, attics and rooftops, waiting for rescuers in boats.

"We are saddened by the sudden passing of one of our community, and our hearts go out to the family and friends who are now grieving during such an already stressful period", Amanda Hutcheson, the Brunswick County Government public information officer wrote in an email.

Also of concern is the sprawling Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia and Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in North Carolina and at Parris Island in SC.

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High tides in Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday will be mid-afternoon and again early Saturday morning.

Populated coastline: 11 million Americans live in areas under storm watches and warnings. In sum, the storm is turning out to be every bit as devastating as forecasters expected, with trillions of gallons of rain still in the forecast, hundreds of people needing rescue, hundreds of thousands of power outages and a handful of deaths.

"Into next week our rivers are going to continue to rise and there will be more significant flooding", Cooper said.

George Pace returned to his neighborhood and saw his home for the first time, expecting the worst, but discovering only minimal damage.

The greatest storm surge inundation is expected between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and western Pamlico Sound, the National Hurricane Center said.

"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".

As of 5:00 am (0900 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of unsafe storm surges and "catastrophic flash flooding". Flooding also hit the Bogue Sound near Beaufort, the Pungo River at Belhaven and the Pamlico River at Washington. "For overall damage, it would be hard, at the end of the day, I think, to find a rival for this storm".

"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing.

The personnel combined with other agencies to form the Tennessee EMS Ambulance Strike Team and the TEMA-Middle Tennessee Fire Chiefs swift-water rescue team.

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