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Hurricane Florence Leaves Over Half a Million in the Dark

Hurricane Florence Leaves Over Half a Million in the Dark

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land.

Multiple deaths have been linked to Hurricane Florence, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm. The Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based group of private boat owners whose role proved pivotal in Texas during Hurricane Harvey, had rescued more than 150 people by Friday alone. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

"The fact that there haven't been more deaths and damage is awesome and a blessing", said Rebekah Roth, walking around Wilmington's Winoca Terrace neighborhood on Saturday.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and into the northeastern coast of SC in spots.

The National Hurricane Center said a gauge north of Wilmington in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 1.92 metres of inundation.

At one point, the 350-mile-wide but slow-moving storm packed winds so fierce that "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor almost lost contact with CBS News' New York studio during the morning broadcast. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain while another man died when he was knocked down by high winds while checking on his dogs. While some meat processors shifted production to plants outside the storm's path, in other cases processing was put on hold altogether.

In Beaufort, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reported Friday night that the storm was still lashing the city.

Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane with 120 miles per hour winds on Thursday but dropped to Category 1 before coming ashore. It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Hurricane-force winds extended 130km from its centre, and tropical storm-force winds reached out to 315km.

Today Florence is forecast to slowly creep farther inland along the Carolinas.

Five people died on Friday, including a mother and baby who died in Wilmington.

Meteorologist Donnie Cox ended up leaving the TV station located in North Carolina, after the hurricane posed a danger of rising level in the floodwater, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

That kind of scenario is likely to repeat itself all over communities in Eastern North Carolina, as swollen rivers flood towns and the pouring rain adds to the misery.

Cooper said emergency response crews are already out and rescuing people, while still more are standing by to respond as the storm moves through.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2:30 a.m.

Some local residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit early on Friday.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

Most of the rivers in northeast SC and eastern North Carolina are experiencing moderate to major flooding and, in some cases, many continue rising well into next week as floodwaters from the interior flow downstream. Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.

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