Trump approves North Carolina disaster declaration for Florence

Hurricane Florence off the eastern coast of the United States

WILMINGTON: Florence barreled into the Carolina coast and moved inland on Friday, knocking down trees, overflowing rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leading to the death of five people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc. The woman's husband was injured in the incident and taken to a nearby hospital, according to police.

Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", Cooper said.

The flooding soon spread into SC, swamping places like North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses.

Hurricane Florence is continuing on its deadly path, causing widespread flooding and damage despite its downgrading to a tropical storm.

Florence has already knocked out power to close to a million households in the Carolinas, with some areas not expecting to regain electricity for days.

The biggest danger, as forecasters saw it, was not the wind but the water: the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain over the next several days that could trigger catastrophic flooding in a slow-motion disaster well inland.

The station reported the fourth death involved a 77-year-old Kinston man who family members said died at 8 a.m. Friday when he was "blown down by the wind" while tending dogs. "Florence's 18 trillion gallons is as much water as there is in the entire Chesapeake Bay", its article says. More than 360 people were rescued from the flooding by crews in boats, some flown in from NY and other areas of the US.

Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree fell on a house in Wilmington, N.C.as Hurricane Florence came ashore, September 14, 2018.

In Wilmington, the storm tore down numerous trees when its centre tore through the area on Friday morning.

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A tweet from the NWS said the storm would be "a marathon vs. a sprint" as it hovered over the area dumping heavy rainfall. Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat.

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Top sustained winds are now about 100 km/h and the storm is moving to the west-southwest at 7 km/h - a track that is expected to continue through early Saturday.

Some of the worst flooding was in New Bern, a town of 30,000 in North Carolina at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers, where hundreds of people needed to be rescued after becoming trapped in their homes by a storm surge of up to 10 feet (three meters).

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth". By Friday evening, the eye of the storm had moved to SC.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2am.

The flooding soon spread into SC.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter. Many locations in southeast North Carolina are likely smash this old record by the time the rain ends.

Before dawn on Friday, authorities had been forced to rescue more than 60 people in Wilmington, some who had ignored evacuation orders.

"The slow motion of the storm will make this a very prolonged flood event", Reid Hawkins, science officer for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said in a briefing.

Florence already has proven deadly with its almost nonstop rain, surging seawater and howling winds, and the threats are days from ending as remnants from what was a major hurricane swirl over the Carolinas.

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