Five dead as Hurricane Florence downgraded to tropical storm

Paul Anthony Menchaca.         Source Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Officials said several agencies responded to the incident.

The center of the hurricane┬┤s eye came ashore at about 7:15 a. m. EDT (1115 GMT) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

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.

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help.

The town of Oriental, North Carolina, got more than 18 inches of rain in just a few hours, while Surf City had 14 inches.

New Bern's WCTI television employees fled their studio Thursday night due to rising flood waters.

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Tropical storm Florence lumbered inland on Saturday, knocking down trees, flooding rivers, and dumping sheets of rain in the Carolinas where five people have died. Scientists say they are wetter, possess more energy and intensify faster. Hurricane Florence will slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland.

Once Hurricane Florence is over, researchers can begin compiling data on how much rain fell, and other factors, to present a more robust paper, Reed said.

Hurricane Florence remains a significant storm surge and flash flood event, according to the latest public advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Still, she said, "I think we're going to stay put", noting her neighborhood's past success in avoiding power outages and flooding.

By Friday evening, the center of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 68 trillion litres of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

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Sample said that when he looked outside of his house, which is about 1,000 yards from the beach, he saw the rain pooling up on the street and what looked like storm surge coming up the road.

A hilarious video which has gone viral on Twitter with over 10 million views shows a weatherman seemingly struggling to stand in high winds during Hurricane Florence - even as two men walk calmly behind him, apparently unaffected.

Hurricane Florence already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and more is to come.

More than 680,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.

More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival. "I wonder how it would have been with a Category 4 or 5?" said Mason Tarr, standing on the steps of the building where he sought shelter the night before.

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