Video shows weathermen ditching live broadcast as Hurricane Florence floods station

S Coastal residents leave creative notes for Florence

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm, after barreling into North Carolina with damaging winds and heavy rain, leaving at least five people dead.

Police confirmed the fatalities on Twitter, saying the father of the child was being transported to a local medical centre to be treated for his injuries.

Emergency officials on Wednesday urged millions of residents along the southeastern USA coast to finish preparations ahead of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to unleash damaging winds and life-threatening amounts of rain when it makes landfall this week.

The damage occurred even though Sandy spun ashore as the equivalent of only a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of about 80 miles per hour, and was downgraded below hurricane status shortly thereafter. "This is a 500- or 1,000-year event".

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018. "People who live in New Bern have experienced hurricanes before, but it has been a long time since we have experienced something like this".

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

"This rainfall would produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding", the NHC said.

More than 722,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas early on Friday, utility officials said.

Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighborhood during Florence's assault.

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

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, there are 5.25 million residents in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places under tropical storm warnings or watches. "In addition to the ongoing, unsafe 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 disaster area was expected to get about as much rain in three days as the 1999 Dennis and Floyd storms dropped in two weeks. "We chose to hunker down". Gigi Charlebois, owner of the Edenton Coffee House on the northern shore of North Carolina's Albemarle Sound, chose to stay with her family overnight in the shop's dining room, sleeping on couches, pull-out cots and a mattress. Some of those who stayed went to shelters while others stuck it out in their homes.Maysie Baumgardner, 7, and her family sheltered at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington as Florence filled the streets with floodwaters.

"It's unsafe, a lot of trees", Charlebois said.

It's hard to believe while looking at these images, but this isn't even the biggest storm devastating the planet right now. "We are staying here to keep you up to date". Forecasters said Florence is expected to blow ashore late Thursday or early Friday, even as President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid. Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.

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