Mother, infant, among several killed by Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence Claims Two More Lives Including Infant in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence Credit ANI

A tree that fell on a house, killing two people, is seen during Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018. The child's father was transported to the hospital with injuries.

Two more people were killed in Lenoir County. Another 78-year-old man was found dead at his home.

About 20,000 people hunkered down in 157 schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem. Hurricane-force winds were extending out up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 195 miles, the center said.

Florence was inching along Friday night into Saturday, trapping people in flooded homes and promising days of destruction and human suffering. The number of people still not rescued fell to about 40 by Friday afternoon, according to New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it 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.

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The eye of Florence directly struck Wrightsville Beach, NC, early Friday.

Florence has a central atmospheric pressure of 968 hectopascals and is packing winds of up to 126 kilometers an hour. According to Meteorologist Ryan Maue, the 18 trillion gallons are enough to "fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water".

Three, five-man line crews and a mobile mechanic from Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corp. left Lebanon for North Carolina to join the efforts to restore power as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast. Roads have crumbled and trees have fallen, and Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, describes the storm as "an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". "Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN.

Many thousand more power customers were without electricity in northeastern South Carolina Friday night. Some areas of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said. "You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland", the center's director, Ken Graham, said.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches. They said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways throughout the Carolinas.

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About 800 flights in the region were canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions. Super Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit an area in the Philippines on Saturday that would affect more than 5 million people.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

At 5 p.m., Florence had been downgraded to a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.

The officials say more than 1,000 millimeters of rainfall and storm surges exceeding 3 meters are possible in some areas until early next week. The storm is so violent that it has caused storm surges of seawater, thrusting the water ashore as high as 10 feet. It's moving westward across the eastern Caribbean, where it's expected to bring up to 5 inches of rain across Puerto Rico.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic. It's forecast to turn northeastward and accelerate in that direction over the weekend.

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