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Florence kills 5, including infant, in North Carolina, officials say

15 September 2018

Roy Cooper warned residents to not let their guard down ahead of Hurricane Florence's landfall later this week.

"This storm has been hovering over us for a while, and we expect it to continue to hover over us", Parker said. "But I think we're ready".

With Hurricane Florence pummeling the Eastern Seaboard, reporters are shooting outdoors in storm-drenched areas to show viewers at home just how serious the storm is.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center.

The National Hurricane Center said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation.

"I've been through hurricanes before", he says.

"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did.

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Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said over 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon. Federal officials say they don't want people to fear going to shelters.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel.

New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones. And she has seen reports of people fleeing to rooftops to escape high floodwaters.

"It's important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00am ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted", the statement said.

Forecasters say the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence is about to make landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina. The agency adds that people trapped by flooding should "never enter attics or crawl spaces".

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

New Bern, the city where Pepsi was invented in a drugstore, was still experiencing winds in the 70 miles per hour range Friday afternoon.

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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. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins". On the morning of September 14, the National Hurricane Centre warned that "catastrophic" flooding and "life-threatening" storm surges were expected to spread inland.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland. The coming storm surges and heavy rains will cause severe flooding that may submerge parts of the Carolinas in up to 40 inches of rain.

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.

More than 12,000 were in shelters in North Carolina.

FEMA and the National Weather Service also urged residents along the coast to evacuate.

By 2 p.m. Saturday, the storm won't even be halfway across SC, forecasters say.

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Florence kills 5, including infant, in North Carolina, officials say