Hurricane Florence makes landfall

Hurricane Florence approaches landfall in North Carolina; more than 80,000 without power

The storm has claimed at least five lives, two of them in Wilmington, NC. He said all roads leading to his neighborhood were blocked by fallen trees. A father in the same home was transported to the hospital.

Two more people were killed in Lenoir County. Another 78-year-old man was found dead at his home.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat.

The hurricane's storm surge - the wall of water it pushed in from the Atlantic - had "overwhelmed" New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

Gibson said she thinks some people couldn't afford to evacuate New Bern and others didn't heed evacuation warnings after Florence dropped from a Category 4 to a Category 1.

The storm has sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour, and 40 inches of rain could fall over the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Florence making landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C. on September 14, 2018.

Around 11 p.m. Friday, Florence was about 15 miles west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, SC, moving west-southwest at 5 mph, packing maximum-sustained winds of 65 mph.

Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.

More than 634,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said.

In Belhaven, the Pungo River roared into town, crashing up against homes at a waist-high level and higher late Thursday and early Friday, video from Amy Johnson showed.

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By Friday evening, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm, its winds weakening to 70 miles per hour (112 kph) as it pushed inland.

He picked up 10 people on one run and took them to a shelter. "Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN.

Many thousand more power customers were without electricity in northeastern South Carolina Friday night. The storm is then expected to turn westward and then northward through the Carolinas and to the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said. The storm is expected to lumber into far southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC through Saturday, punishing the area with rain and damaging winds.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington said rainfall amounts of 25 to 35 inches over the next few days could set records for single storm rainfall accumulation.

'What I'm fearful about is there are a lot of people who are not going to be OK because they don't have elevated structures, ' Cutter said. CoBank ACB, an agricultural lender, estimates damage to North Carolina farming could hit US$1 billion before the storm slows.

The Weather Channel produced a terrifying Hurricane Florence weather forecast using a visualization to show the horrifying reality of what 9-foot flood waters might look like in North Carolina.

The National Weather Service is forecasting "significant" river flooding, especially in the northeastern portion of the state.

The remainder of SC and North Carolina into southwest Virginia could see 5 to 10 inches, with some isolated areas seeing 15 inches.

"Amazing. They did awesome", said Knox, who was stranded with seven others, including a boy who was carried out in a life vest.

On Friday afternoon, Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw explained to NPR's All Things Considered that people stayed in their homes, despite evacuation orders, because storms that were predicted to be awful in the past, just didn't happen.

McMaster had ordered residents in most of the state's coastal counties to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival.

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