Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Credit PA

Credit PA

A mother and her baby died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

US President Donald Trump has declared a disaster in North Carolina where a tropical storm has killed five amid warnings the worst is far from over.

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

The 18th century town, with a population of 30,000, has been badly flooded, with 4,200 homes damaged.

The hurricane centre also said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as the storm neared the shore. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

Heavy rains and storm surge created destructive flooding of several feet throughout the Carolina coast. Officials said at least 150 people were "awaiting rescue" early Friday morning as the unsafe. He said "if those shelters fill up, we will establish more shelters".

Storm surges - the bulge of ocean water pushed ashore by the hurricane - were as high as 10 feet, backing up onto rivers already swollen by almost two feet of rain.

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Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree fell on a house in Wilmington, Hurricane Florence came ashore, September 14, 2018.

Evacuation zones in Horry and Georgetown counties remain under the order. Another woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

The body of a 77-year-old man, also in Kinston, was found by his family at his home, and it is believed he died when he was blown down after going outside to check on his hunting dogs, Dail said.

At least 188,000 people were already without power in North and SC early on Friday. See social media posts from journalists and first responders.

The Federal Emergency Management Authority said motorists should not attempt to drive through floodwaters.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Florence was 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, packing sustained hurricane-force winds of 80 mph and moving west-southwest at 3 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The military announced Saturday it was deploying almost 200 soldiers to assist in storm-related response and recovery efforts, along with 100 trucks and equipment.

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"The water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don't typically flood", he said.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the coastline for days.

South Carolina Department of Transportation head Christy Hall said trees are already down in areas of Horry County and citizens should prepare for flooding.

The area is expected to get about as much rain in three days as Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd dropped in two weeks in 1999.

In Wilmington, near where the eye of the storm touched down, trees and power lines were felled and many windows broken.

In Jacksonville, a relentless band of heavy rain gutted buildings, drenched streets and left wildlife to battle the rising waters.

By Friday morning Florence had already sapped power to almost 450,000 customers in the Carolinas, emergency officials said.

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