It's the most powerful storm of 2018 so far.
At the time, the storm carried winds of about 90 miles per hour (145 km/h), making it a Category 1 storm, but that ranking belies the hurricane's massive clouds and the downpour it is visiting on the coastline, with some areas already drenched in 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain.
The National Hurricane Center says that "catastrophic" freshwater flooding is expected over portions of the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence inches closer to the U.S. East Coast. The city said two FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more were on the way. "Don't drive across standing or moving water", the governor said, urging people to heed evacuation orders.
A piece of corrugated metal blown by winds from Hurricane Florence just misses a state patrolman as people move a wood and metal structure that was blown onto the roadway, in Florence, South Carolina, on September 14, 2018. Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help.
In the coming days, Florence's path and pace may cause it to send storm bands back over areas already hammered by heavy rain - what's known as training - dumping even more water and making conditions even more hazardous for both residents and rescuers.
Hurricane Florence pounds the Carolinas
Despite Hurricane Florence being downgraded to a Category 1 storm, the ocean surge created as a result could be "catastrophic". The city said two Federal Emergency Management Agency teams were working on swift-water rescues, and more were on the way.
Tropical Storm Florence keeps drenching the central Carolinas, with an additional 10 to 15 inches of rain expected before it finally swings north over the Appalachian Mountains and into the Ohio Valley on Monday. The child´s injured father was taken to a hospital.
Trees and limbs and other debris have blocked several roads throughout the region, including on major thoroughfares in Wilmington like Oleander Drive, South 17th Street and Independence Boulevard.
In Kinston, more than an hour's drive inland from the coast, Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a man was electrocuted as he attempted to connect extension cords outside in the rain.
At least five people have died, including a mother and her baby, who were in a house in Wilmington when it was struck by a falling tree.
The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.
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It already had, in Beaufort County and its capital city, Washington, where 300 people were rescued from flooded homes.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday.
Some local residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit early on Friday. Atlantic Beach, located on the state´s Outer Banks barrier islands, had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the US Geological Survey said. By 2 p.m., more than 658,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, and the Triangle had begun to experience outages. The figure for SC was 170,000.
More than 22,600 people in North Carolina were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena. About 210,000 people were staying in 170 shelters in the Carolinas. He is expected to travel to areas affected by the hurricane next week, the White House said Friday.
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.
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