Reporter mocked for 'Oscar-worthy' Hurricane Florence broadcast

Homes flooded by Hurricane Florence in Wilmington North Carolina

The National Hurricane Center says a sustained wind of 55 miles per hour (89 kph) and a gust to 68 miles per hour (109 kph) were reported in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

At least five people have died, including a mother and her baby, as Hurricane Florence battered the southeastern coast of the US.

There have been two fatalities in Kinston as a result of Florence, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail.

The first deaths attributed to the storm were reported Friday, including a mother and child who were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., at 7:15 a.m. ET, creeping slowly ashore - but bringing strong winds, a massive storm surge and a rain system that will soak much of the state and SC for days.

The hurricane center said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril.

What is known was that as of 11 p.m. Friday, Florence's maximum winds were recorded at 65 miles per hour while it was hovering near Conway, NWS Columbia reported. Hurricane-force winds were extending out up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 195 miles, the center said.

"We're estimating we've rescued 150-200", New Bern Police Lt. David Daniels said early Friday morning. Storm surge could be up to 13 feet, pushing seawater as much as 2 miles inland.

"We would recommend that people hold on to nonperishable items to be prepared for the next emergency, which could happen at any time of year", said James City County spokeswoman Renee Dallman.

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Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. Forecasters are predicting that the Lumber and Cape Fear rivers will crest significantly higher than after Hurricane Matthew, and in some areas Florence will bring 1,000-year rainfall totals. Significant weakening was expected over the weekend.

Both the Trent and Neuse rivers overflowed their banks, flooding homes, stores and streets and trapping many people in their houses. Those roads included Interstate 40 in Duplin County; N.C. 12 in Dare, Hyde and Carteret counties; N.C. 130 in Brunswick County; N.C. 55 in Craven and Pamlico counties; N.C. 58 in Carteret and Jones counties; and N.C. 904 in Brunswick County. Fellow hard-discount grocer Lidl has reported closures of eight North Carolina and three SC stores.

More than 2,700 people took refuge at shelters, according to Horry County Spokesperson Kelly Moore.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

Shelter locations are listed at ncdps.gov/florence and, once open, will be listed on the ReadyNC app.

Footage shows a pier and a beach in Nags Head, North Carolina, being hit with heavy surf as the storm rolls into the area. Thousands of soldiers from their National Guard forces have been mobilized.

About150 people were awaiting rescue in New Bern, N.C. early Friday morning, and multiple news outlets report some 60 people had to be evacuated from a motel in Jacksonville, N.C. overnight after it sustained structural damage as the Category 1 hurricane made landfall.

Across North Carolina, more than 65 school districts are closed, and almost all University of North Carolina system schools have cancelled classes.

Through 2 p.m. on Friday, Aldi had closed or announced plans to close 27 locations in North Carolina and 10 in SC. Three other Southern raceways also opened campgrounds to evacuees. For the full list of closings, visit the DNCR website.

Cooper called Florence the "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities.

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