North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the storm was posing an even greater risk of flooding than when it first made landfall.
WILMINGTON: Florence barreled into the Carolina coast and moved inland on Friday, knocking down trees, overflowing rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leading to the death of five people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.
By Friday night the center of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence's top sustained winds were holding at 45 miles per hour (75 kph), with higher gusts east of the storm's center.
Hurricane Florence delivered a slow-motion assault to the coast of North Carolina early Friday, with catastrophic storm surge and torrential rains that will continue for days.
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As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.
And weather officials said more is coming, labeling as "extreme" the impacts from storm surge and flash flooding.
Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.
South Carolina Department of Transportation head Christy Hall said trees are already down in areas of Horry County and citizens should prepare for flooding. He said "if those shelters fill up, we will establish more shelters".
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Florence's eye made landfall over the Wrightsville Beach water tower about 7:15 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wilmington. "I have no money, no job, no connections", Tony Clower, a homeless Kinston, North Carolina, resident, told the Asheville Citizen-Times.
The dead included a mother and baby killed when a tree fell on a house in Wilmington, North Carolina.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door to door to pull more than 60 people out as the Triangle Motor Inn began to crumble.
In North Carolina, unrelenting rains were expected to swell the Cape Fear River to 62 feet next week, 3 feet higher than during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Forecasters said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a sharp rightward swing to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of the week. Newport, N.C., has already accumulated 23.7 inches. Rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds of people trapped by the rising waters.
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Numerous calls are from residents who are trapped in their homes, some of whom reported floodwater rising up to the second floor. September 14, 2018. "If you've ever doubted the destructiveness of a hurricane, what's happening here will make you a believer".