As the storm hovered around eight miles north of Myrtle Beach in SC, residents in the city of Conway, a few miles from the storm's eye, anxious that the Waccamaw river which surrounds the city would soon burst its banks.
Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles. The tropical storm's maximum sustained winds are holding steady, remaining at around 50 miles per hour, with higher gusts in heavy rainbands over water, the NWS said.
Two people also died in Harkers Island, North Carolina, on Friday, Carteret County Director of Emergency Services Stephen Rea said Saturday.
By midday, Florence had already claimed its first lives, when a tree crashed onto a home in Wilmington, North Carolina, killing a mother and her infant daughter. The father was hospitalized with injuries.
Cops say a woman in Pender County, NC, died after suffering a heart attack but paramedics were unable to reach her due to blocked roads.
"High winds and severe flooding from Hurricane Florence will impede the pace of our outage restoration efforts". Officials believe he was blown down by the wind when he went out to check on his hunting dogs.
Some towns have endured more than two feet of rain and forecasters say that more than three feet of water could bring major flooding further inland in the coming days.
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Many counties in southern North Carolina remain under a tornado watch until 7 a.m.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper described the hurricane as likely to "continue its violent grind for days" and described the severity of the downfalls as a "1,000 year event".
The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some counties. Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water, while many of their neighbors awaited help.
And weather officials said more is coming, labeling as "extreme" the impacts from storm surge and flash flooding.
CORRECTING TYPO IN CITY NAME People are rescued by members of the U.S. Army during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, U.S. September 14, 2018. "If you've ever doubted the destructiveness of a hurricane, what's happening here will make you a believer".
Numerous calls are from residents who are trapped in their homes, some of whom reported floodwater rising up to the second floor.
Cinder blocks that were part of the structure crumbled in some places, and portions of the roof were missing.
Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm with diminished winds, but it has stalled over the Wilmington region as predicted and will continue drenching the area with historic and catastrophic rain, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. briefing.
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Here are five Trump critics who have had angry reactions to the president's clueless remarks on Puerto Rico's death toll. Hurricane Florence is bringing widespread flooding, heavy rains and strong winds to many coastal areas of North and SC .
More than 760,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state. Although the storm is passing north of Myrtle Beach, the concern now is that river water from North Carolina will flow into the area and combine with all the water that is already there. It was also expected to slip briefly back into the open water during the journey. The National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C.
The storm roared ashore under the cover of darkness, pummeling the region with pounding rain, widespread flooding and catastrophic winds.
Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC". Wind gusts of 105 miles per hour - the highest recorded since 1958 - were reported in Wilmington Friday morning.
He said residents should "expect flooding and potential landslides tonight and into Monday", and warned against driving in the water "no matter how confident you feel or how much you want to get out of the house".
While thousands chose to flee the coast, others hunkered down.
She said the shop, with an electric generator, was safer than their nearby home.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard that, trying to get out, we got thrown into trailers".
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Members of the European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of the EU initiating legal procedure against Hungary . It was the first move of its kind in the European Union against a member state, garnering two-thirds of the votes.