Hurricane Florence Leaves Over Half a Million in the Dark

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

A woman and her baby were killed when a tree fell on their house and at least two other storm-related deaths were reported as Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas, dousing the eastern U.S. states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks.

A building is seen through heavy rain from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018. Cooper cited a National Weather Service forecast that said almost the entire state could be covered in several feet of water.

At least five fatalities were reported Friday because of Florence, including a mother and infant. The father was taken to a nearby hospital with injuries.

The National Hurricane Center says the Neuse River near the city is recording more than 10 feet (3.05 meters) of inundation.

The Hurricane Florence has began to unleash fierce rains across the USA southeast.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.

"It doesn't matter where you are", he said.

Whether residents left their homes, sought refuge in a shelter or are hunkering down, the weather service has bad news: After creeping inland, Florence "is expected to slow down even more today and tonight".

Billy Porch, who lives at the Atlantic Breeze Apartments, said he wasn't going to start worrying until the water reached the stairs to the second level or rear of the complex.

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Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds. But with a storm surge putting pressure on water to head back inland and heavy rains swelling those rivers, widespread flooding is the result. "Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN.

It comes amid otherwise serious warnings for residents in North and SC as Hurricane Florence, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday, continues to put properties and lives at risk.

But forecasters say Florence's biggest threat, as with all hurricanes, lies in its water: a storm surge of up to 11 feet and rainfall that will trigger catastrophic flooding.

"This is going to be a very trying period for the state", he said."We're liable to have flash floods, bridges and roads washed out".

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.

She said the shop, with an electric generator, was safer than their nearby home.

North Carolina Emergency Management warned residents on Friday to stay indoors, avoid stagnant or moving flood waters and have their emergency kits ready. But as weather forecasts showed a shift in the storm's direction, area residents found themselves with piles of unneeded supplies.

Parts of the Carolinas are expected to see 20 to 30 inches of rain over the next seven days. Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.

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