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The Latest Menace for the Carolinas: Rising Flood Waters
Even as Florence weakens, flooding is still a major threat
15 September 2018, 11:28 | Justin Tyler
As Florence first broke on land yesterday 90mph winds struck the coastal areas, but as the storm system moved across land it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.
A hilarious video which has gone viral on Twitter with over 10 million views shows a weatherman seemingly struggling to stand in high winds during Hurricane Florence - even as two men walk calmly behind him, apparently unaffected.
Tropical Storm Florence is practically stalled over the Carolinas and the monster storm could dump drenching rains of up to 3½ feet (1 meter).
"Two people in Wilmington were killed when a tree fell on their home", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told WCNC.
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.
Officials are warning that Florence could start to bring flooding inland over the next few days with catastrophic floods in some districts. Rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds of people trapped by the rising waters.
"The town is a mess, but for most people it will just be a matter of cleaning up", he said.
Utility officials say almost 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas on Friday and more were expected to lose power.
Evacuation orders have been lifted in several coastal SC counties as Florence continues to dump rain on the state. Jennifer Morales, 20, said there was 3 feet of water in her home. "We know people want to get back to their homes".
As of 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of unsafe storm surges and "catastrophic flooding". Officials in New Bern Friday morning reported storm surge as high as 10 feet.
Meanwhile, CBS affiliate WNCT reports that more than 60 people, including an infant and children, were rescued from a hotel in Jacksonville, N.C. after strong winds threatened the structural integrity of the building.
The hurricane center predicts as much as 101 centimeters (40 inches) of rain for some parts of North Carolina.
The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.
Sample said that when he looked outside of his house, which is about 1,000 yards from the beach, he saw the rain pooling up on the street and what looked like storm surge coming up the road.
Florence came ashore more than 24 hours ago.
The White House said President Donald Trump would visit hurricane-hit areas next week "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts". By Friday evening, the eye of the storm had moved to SC. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said.
More than 760,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state. Gigi Charlebois, owner of the Edenton Coffee House on the northern shore of North Carolina's Albemarle Sound, made a decision to stay with her family overnight in the shop's dining room, sleeping on couches, pull-out cots and a mattress.
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At least four dead after Hurricane Florence hits the US
More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire. A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at almost 170km/h, the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.