'Uninvited brute': Hurricane Florence pounds the Carolinas

The shelter of a petrol station lies on the ground in Wilmington

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and hundreds have been trapped by rising water

The hurricane, downgraded Friday afternoon to a tropical storm, was blamed by authorities for at least five deaths as of late in the day.

Even if you live 150 miles out from the center of Florence, you could still feel tropical-storm-force winds - which are 39 mph or greater.

The Wilmington region could see "storm totals between 30 and 40 inches along the North Carolina coastal areas south of Cape Hatteras".

The tree was about 6 feet above the road surface. That could affect the infrastructure, bridges, residences, farms and other buildings, Dahler said.

"Many people who think the storm has missed them have yet to see its threat", he said, adding: "Don't go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear".

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Gov. Roy Cooper said.

"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches". Heavy rains will continue to fall in the Carolinas and heavier rains are expected to spread into western parts of North Carolina, in addition to some parts of eastern Tennessee and eastern Georgia, Doll said. "I have no money, no job, no connections", Tony Clower, a homeless Kinston, North Carolina, resident, told the Asheville Citizen-Times. More than 26,000 hunkered down in shelters.

Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, swept through the Carolinas on Friday, knocking out power to almost a million homes and businesses and causing multiple deaths.

So far, at least three people have died because of the storm, including a mother and infant who were in a Mercer Avenue house when it was struck by a felled tree.

The doors of many homes suffered so much wind damage they appeared to have been kicked in, while the city's beloved fiber-glass bear statues, which are sponsored by local businesses, were floating down streets.

About 809,000 of those customers are North Carolina, and about 155,000 are in SC.

In Pender County, a woman died from a heart attack after paramedics were not able to get to her.

"Even if your wells don't look like they've been contaminated, talk to your local officials about testing the water after the hurricane is gone", she said.

A 78-year-old man in Kinston, North Carolina, was electrocuted when he tried to connect two extension cords outside in the rain, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail.

Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water in the river town of New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbours awaited help.

The White House said President Trump had issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina a day earlier, freeing up funds for housing and home fix.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm will continue to produce catastrophic flash flooding over both of the Carolinas, south-central Virginia and West Virginia in the coming days. About 10 million people could be affected by the storm.

The storm made landfall on Friday near Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 squeezed between North Carolina's Atlantic coastline and the Cape Fear River. Floyd produced 24 inches (61 cm) of rain in some parts of North Carolina while Florence already has dumped about 30 inches (76 cm) in areas around Swansboro.

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