Tropical bands from Florence begin lashing Carolinas

S Florence begins days of rain wind

S Florence begins days of rain wind

Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, near where the hurricane made landfall, said a mother and her infant were killed when a tree fell on their house.

A fallen tree lies atop the crushed roof of a fast food restaurant after the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.

Hurricane Florence became a deadly storm Friday, claiming three lives in Hampstead and Wilmington as it roared into, and stalled over, the Wilmington region.

As of 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to 75 miles per hour (120 kph) but the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Carolina residents to be alert for life-threatening storm surges and "catastrophic freshwater flooding".

The father was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment.

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NWSCharleston is now under a storm surge warning, per the NWS. 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.

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.

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.

"In addition to the ongoing, risky storm surge and flash flooding, will be a long-term river flood threat WELL INLAND as very heavy rainfall continues to fall in the coming days"'. The storm was moving very slowly westward at about 6 miles per hour. Authorities say at least 20,000 people have evacuated their homes and are sought refuge in shelters throughout North Carolina.

Tropical Storm Florence keeps drenching the central Carolinas and is expected to generate up to 380 millimetres of rain before it swings north over the Appalachian Mountains and into the Ohio Valley on Monday.

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It's not clear if the storm is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane after it hits the eastern Caribbean. Isaac was a hurricane Sunday night but downgraded when maximum sustained winds fell below 74 miles per hour .

"The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North and SC later today, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern SC in the hurricane warning area tonight and Friday, " the hurricane center said. Downed trees blocked the road, making it impossible for paramedics to get to her. It was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina. The storm has weakened to a Category 1, with wind speeds of 90 miles per hour.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

Rain bands with tropical-storm-force winds have moved onshore over the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The city warns that people "may need to move up to the second story" but tells them to stay put as "we are coming to get you". "The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline".

Governor Cooper said: "Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless".

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