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5 dead in Hurricane Florence, including mom and infant
15 September 2018, 08:16 | Max Haynes
President Trump opened up lines of communication with Wilmington N.C. Mayor Bill Saffo
The National Hurricane Center said Florence came ashore near the town of Wrightsville Beach, almost 10 kilometers east of the city of Wilmington, with maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour and higher gusts. Officials in the town of 30,000, which dates to the early 18th century, said over 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.
Two people died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city's police department said.
Governor Cooper said there have been "several hundred" rescue operations and "there are still some people they need to get to".
Florence should continue losing strength as it menders along the coast, weakening further as the storm travels across inland SC on Saturday, the weather service said.
Wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, the hurricane center said. The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.
A North Carolina city situated between two rivers says it has around 150 people waiting to be rescued from rising flood waters from Hurricane Florence.
As of 5pm (2100 GMT Friday), maximum sustained winds had weakened to 110kph (70mph) but the NHC warned Carolina residents to be alert for life-threatening storm surges and "catastrophic freshwater flooding". Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).
Richmond, Va. -based Dominion Energy, which provides power in the northeastern corner of North Carolina, was reporting over 1,900 scattered outages. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend.
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United States media said a fifth death may have occurred when a man tried to connect two extension cords in the rain.
Satellites also continue to monitor Hurricane Florence as it passes over North Carolina to help meteorologists make more accurate predictions of how the storm will impact people living in the region. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.
A tornado watch was issued for eastern North Carolina.
On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.
More than 60 people, including many children, were evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds collapsed part of the roof. Nationwide, airlines cancelled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.
The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas. The highest numbers are being reported in New Hanover County.
The wind howled and sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before dawn in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed.
"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house.
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.
Hurricane Florence: North Carolina residents urged to leave
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles. Utility officials have warned that widespread power outages are likely and that it could take weeks to restore electricity.
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In a release dated Thursday the company had said it would "be upgrading natural gas lines in neighborhoods across the state". The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate, saying pipelines are within its jurisdiction.