Hurricane Florence batters the Carolinas

Hurricane Florence Is Dumping a Huge Amount of Rain on the Carolinas

Florence made landfall this morning along the South Carolina North Carolina border. Credit NOAA

At least five people, including a mother and her infant, have died in North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence slowly moves from the Tar Heel State into SC, officials said Friday.

A building is seen through heavy rain from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018.

4 a.m.: WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said that Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to move southwest at 5 miles per hour and has sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.

Florence plowed into the Carolinas and lumbered slowly inland on Friday, knocking down trees, gorging rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leaving five people dead before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

"The National Hurricane Center said Florence is moving very slowly to the west at only 6 miles an hour, then is expected to turn to the southwest, increasing the threat for historic storm surge and catastrophic flooding to coastline areas and inland cities in North Carolina and SC". The father was pulled from the home and transported to a local hospital with injuries, police said. A woman in Pender County, North Carolina, died from a heart attack after calling emergency services, as paramedics could not reach her because of fallen trees. Roberts said numerous residents live near the Neuse and Trent rivers. But Outlaw said on Friday morning it's "not a bad idea to get in your auto and get west of I-95" if residents feel they can safely do so.

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A fourth person reportedly was killed while plugging in a generator in the state's Lenoir County, according to U.S. media. "You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland", the center's director, Ken Graham, said. More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena.

With the brunt of the storm yet to come, a gauge on the Neuse River in New Bern, a city near the coast, was already recording 10 feet (3 meters) of inundation, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The risky storm surge caused damage and flooding.

"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"'.

Before dawn on Friday, authorities had been forced to rescue more than 60 people in Wilmington, some who had ignored evacuation orders. "I'm not sure if it's a shift in the wind or low tide - but the water has miraculously disappeared".

"I had a lot of fear initially but I'm glad to be inside and safe", said Zelda Allen, 74, a retired tax accountant from Hampstead, North Carolina, who was riding out the storm at Wilmington's Hotel Ballast with her husband.

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Just after midnight, the station tweeted that everyone had safely evacuated. "We didn't know where to go", she said.

It didn't take long for Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand to start feeling its impacts, with the area waking up to steady 20-30 miles per hour winds Friday morning. "The water started rising and we evacuated nearly an entire TV station in about 15 minutes".

North Carolina Emergency Management warned residents on Friday to stay indoors, avoid stagnant or moving flood waters and have their emergency kits ready.

Although the storm is beginning to move away, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said the Triangle should still expect heavy rain for the next 24 hours.

Emergency officials warned residents that the peril had probably not passed, as the storm continued to dump torrential rain.

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Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

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