Killer storm Florence dumping 'epic amounts of rainfall' on Carolinas

Tropical Weather North Carolina

Storm in "violent grind" across state -N.

The storm has killed at least five people in North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, swept through the Carolinas on Friday, knocking out power to almost a million homes and businesses and causing multiple deaths.

Storm surges - the bulge of ocean water pushed ashore by the hurricane - were as high as 10 feet (3 meters).

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. The child's father was taken to a hospital.

A woman in Hampstead, in Pender County, died of an apparent heart attack after emergency crews could not clear debris to get to her.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

A 77-year-old man has also died after apparently being knocked down by the wind when he went out to check on his hunting dogs.

CORRECTING GRAMMAR AND TYPO IN CITY NAME A family is stalled in water as they wait to be rescued during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.

"For the last two years, we've had our ships going to other ports, but this year it's just the opposite for us", Murray said.

Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, the sheriff's office said. "My wife's in a panic right now".

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Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house.

"It will not stop, this weather event of Florence", Begnaud said.

Florence was packing 120mph winds (193km/h) on Thursday but weakened from a Category 3 hurricane to Category 1 before it hit the coastline on Friday.

Speaking during a visit to Moscow less than an hour after the hurricane made landfall in North Carolina, Perry said "we've done this many times before".

Hurricane Florence was making landfall in North Carolina early Friday pushing a life-threatening storm surge for miles inland with screaming wind that was destroying buildings in its path. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

More than 22,600 people in North Carolina were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena. Rivers will continue to rise days after the rain has stopped, he said. As the storm sat along the edge of the Atlantic, some stretches along the coastal Carolinas received close to 20 inches of rain.

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

President Trump approved a disaster declaration, giving eight counties in North Carolina access to federal funding.

As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. SC recorded its first death from the storm when officials said a 61-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle hit a tree that had fallen across a highway.

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.

Though weakened, Florence remains a very large, slow and unsafe storm as it swirls over the Carolinas. Super Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit an area in the Philippines on Saturday that would affect more than 5 million people.

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