Mother, infant are first two confirmed deaths from Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence’s ‘life-threatening’ storm surge pours over Outer Banks’ NC 12 | Charlotte Observer

WILMINGTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 14: Firefighters look into a home that a large tree fell on that has three people trapped after Hurricane Florence hit the area on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

And cameras aboard the International Space Station managed to catch incredible footage just a few minutes after the storm's landfall.

"A big worry about Hurricane Florence is that it's not acting like a normal hurricane", said Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely risky storm for rain and storm surge.

According to poweroutage.us, more than 500,000 customers in North Carolina and 50,000 in SC were without power on Friday morning, though the Weather Channel estimates up to 3 million customers could lose power in the Carolinas due to Florence. The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach. "I was born and raised here and been through every storm the last 30 years, but this one seems to be doing more damage than we expected".

More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival.

Florence's hurricane force winds now extends 80 miles from the center, while the tropical storm force winds reaches almost 200 miles, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency. It was expected to continue to grind westward and slow down even further.

This story was compiled from McClatchy papers in North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer; and in South Carolina, The State in Columbia, the Beaufort Gazette, The Island Packet in Hilton Head and The Sun News in Myrtle Beach; and supplemented with wire service reports. They had heeded officials' warnings that the storm was treacherous, with record-setting rains and storm surges not seen in North Carolina in decades.

The powerful storm inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power.

At least 100 rescues have been made in hard-hit New Bern, and that figure is expected to climb.

Hurricane Florence has caused some damage to Wilmington International Airport, said Gary Broughton, the airport's deputy director.

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.

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Officials say residents should wait until the storm completely passes before getting rid of perishable supplies because there is still the possibility of flooding in some areas of the Historic Triangle. Many state museums and other attractions are also closed.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge".

Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 miles per hour (225 kph) earlier in the week, and the hurricane was downgraded from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

"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".

On social media, residents have suggested donating to local school sports teams or high school band programs, but York County Public Schools have not made an official request for supplies, spokeswoman Katherine Goff said.

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