Hurricane Florence turns deadly as it pounds Carolinas

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

But it still brought torrential rain.

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said it was not too late for people to get out. "You don't want to put someone in a bucket and send them high into the air to mess with power lines in 70 miles per hour winds". "North Carolinians are resilient and we're going to pull together and get this thing done". Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles (315 kilometers).

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has finally made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina.

"I think it's going to be a little worse than other people thought", he said, looking out over the beach.

Along the coast, floodwaters have been hitting inland towns near rivers that normally discharge into the ocean. Storm surges as high as 7 to 11 feet remain threats from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout in North Carolina, with life-threatening surges up to 6 feet possible across a much wider area. "The water started rising and we evacuated nearly an entire TV station in about 15 minutes".

Travel on the state's roads has grown "extremely hazardous", said Jim Trogdon, the North Carolina transportation secretary, who warned in a late-morning briefing that a 500- to 1,000-year "flood event is anticipated".

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. "(It's) a unsafe situation here", Cooper said.

The Neuse River floods the waterfront in New Bern, N.C., on September 14, 2018 during Hurricane Florence.

"We would recommend that people hold on to nonperishable items to be prepared for the next emergency, which could happen at any time of year", said James City County spokeswoman Renee Dallman.

Grocery retailers have closed stores and curtailed shopping hours with the arrival of Hurricane Florence, which struck the North Carolina coast early Friday.

The deaths came as the storm was turning through the southeast part of the state, dumping more than 20 inches of rain in some communities.

"We're estimating we've rescued 150-200", New Bern Police Lt. David Daniels said early Friday morning. State Sen. Danny Britt, R, put out a call on Facebook for volunteers to fill the sandbags and, with the help of 40 members of the National Guard, dam a railway channel that has been problematic during floods. The agency adds that people trapped by flooding should "never enter attics or crawl spaces". At the city's airport, the wind was gusting at 91 miles per hour.

Satellites will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Florence from space to make more accurate predictions about where it's heading next.

Winds here are still expected to reach a maximum sustained speed of 60 to 70 miles per hour, with peaks reaching in the upper 80s in some Grand Strand regions.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend.

In southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC up to 40 inches of rain could fall, producing "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", said the NHC.

Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 195km/h winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore. Its whistling winds and "catastrophic" flooding moved into Horry County and was due to dump at least 12 to 16 more inches of rain heading into Friday night.

After creeping inland, Florence is expected to head west before looping up toward Tennessee and Kentucky early next week.

At the Walmart Emergency Operations Center (EOC), representatives from across the retailer's business have been working to help its facilities, associates and customers prepare for and respond to Florence.

"Stay in place. People are still being rescued in coastal North Carolina".

More than 2,700 people took refuge at shelters, according to Horry County Spokesperson Kelly Moore. But as weather forecasts showed a shift in the storm's direction, area residents found themselves with piles of unneeded supplies. "After the rain, it's flooding and river flooding as well".

"A big worry about Hurricane Florence is that it's not acting like a normal hurricane", said Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina. That advisory came out on August 30, when Florence was developing near the Cabo Verde Islands across the Atlantic.

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