At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

At least 4 dead as Florence downgraded to Tropical Storm

Once a powerful Category 4 storm, Florence became a slow-moving Category 1 before it made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina, on Friday.

North Carolina must withstand more torrential rains, gusty winds, and river flooding from Tropical Storm Florence next week, but emergency leaders are already working on the recovery.

In Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 on North Carolina's Atlantic coastline, along the Cape Fear River that is home to historic mansions, streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris.

In the neighborhood where the mother and child died, resident Frank Hendrickson pointed to a tree that fell next door to him but spared a neighbor's house.

Wilmington police tweeted that the father was transported to the hospital with unspecified injuries. The man's family found his body Friday morning, according to Dail.

A third person, a woman, died in Hampstead, NC, in Pender County.

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Governor Roy Cooper said. Another man in the county who was checking on his dogs outside was killed in what his family thought was a wind-related death Friday morning, emergency officials said.

Since marching ashore Friday near Wilmington as a hurricane, Florence has knocked out power to almost 900,000 homes in the Carolinas, according to

"It looks heavy outside", she said.

The governor said half a million people in North Carolina were without power and the Neuse River had seen storm surge as high as 10 feet. That number was down to 40 later in the day.

More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia. Hurricane-force winds and inland flooding also is a concern.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

Here's what the DC region can expect from Hurricane Florence
The storm's surge , the rise in sea water above normally dry land at the coast, could reach up to 13 feet at peak. Christopher Grady said in a statement . "Theses swells will result in life-threatening surf and rip currents".

Later Friday, a wind gust of 68 miles per hour was measured at a station in Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington.

One video sees a gas station failing to withstand the force of Florence's winds, with a BP station in Topsail Beach, North Carolina losing its canopy as the Catgory 1 storm blew through the area. Always remember: turn around, don't drown! Expert scientists, however, had said they were anxious about Brunswick because of scant public information about its readiness.

"The only difference is, back then it was within 14 days", National Weather Service forecaster Chris Wamsley said. "This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall".

This basketball court in New Bern was completely flooded.

Tens of thousands of people across the Carolinas and Virginia are weathering the storm in shelters.

"It was pretty bad". "I woke up at 6 a.m., and the water was coming into the house".

The rising sea crept toward the two-story home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro.

At six feet, viewers were able to visualize how the waters could quickly overcome them and submerge their property. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water". She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew.

FEMA teams were deployed to the city of New Bern late Thursday night, to conduct water rescue missions for people trapped on roofs or in their cars.

"I'll grow concerned if the water starts getting close to my truck".

The deaths came as the storm was turning through the southeast part of the state, dumping more than 20 inches of rain in some communities.

More than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, hours after then-Hurricane Florence swept through, but another 140 were still waiting for help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told The Associated Press.