Florence expected to weaken as flood risk rises

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesVolunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.

"This storm is relentless and excruciating", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told CNN late on Friday.

In South Carolina, some 36,000 customers are without power.

At least four people were killed.

Florence crashed ashore Friday morning in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, and it has wiped out power to about 796,000 customers in that state and SC, reports CNN.

Florence is projected to migrate at barely more than a walking pace across northern SC, passing close to the city of Florence - truly - on Saturday. Forecasters say "it can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard posed by the slow-moving storm is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland".

"Flood waters are rising, & if you aren't watching for them, you are risking life".

He earlier said the storm system "is unloading epic amounts of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches".

A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, more than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet by the end of the weekend. Though Florence did not arrive with winds as violent as once feared, forecasters got the storm surge and rainfall correct.

Weinmann pulled 10 people out of flooded neighborhoods and delivered them to a shelter. However, as US Presidents Trump says, "fake news".

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the USA electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

Almost three feet of rain has fallen on portions of North Carolina, a reported record for the state for rainfall from a single storm.

The doors of many homes suffered so much wind damage they appeared to have been kicked in, while the city's beloved fibre-glass bear statues, which are sponsored by local businesses, were floating down streets.

In one piece of good news, authorities said 16 wild ponies of hurricane-struck Ocracoke Island, located off the North Carolina coast, were safe.

The storm's first casualties, which included a mother and her baby killed when a tree fell on their brick house in Wilmington, North Carolina, were announced about eight hours after Florence came ashore on Friday (local time).

"You evacuate from water", Cline said.

In Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

North Carolina officials have reported at least seven storm-related fatalities with unconfirmed reports of a further three deaths.

The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel was seemingly battling to stay upright as he filmed a piece in North Carolina - only for two pedestrians to calmly stroll past in the background.

Life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods and prolonged significant river flooding are possible in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and the southern to central Appalachias to western North Carolina to west-central Virginia and far-eastern West Virginia into early next week, the National Weather Service said.

The military announced Saturday it was deploying almost 200 soldiers to assist in storm-related response and recovery efforts, along with 100 trucks and equipment.

Besides federal and state emergency crews, rescuers were being helped by volunteers from the "Cajun Navy" - civilians equipped with light boats, canoes and air mattresses - who also turned up in Houston during Hurricane Harvey to carry out water rescues.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

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