Wind approaches outer banks of North Carolina

Volunteer Amber Hersel from the Civilian Crisis Response Team helps rescue 7-year-old Keiyana Cromartie and her family from their flooded home

"The father was transported to (New Hanover Regional Medical Center) with injuries".

A spokesperson in North Carolina's Pender County also said another woman died of an unspecified health condition after calling emergency services, as medics could not reach her because fallen trees were blocking the road.

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hurricane Florence delivered a slow-motion assault to the coast of North Carolina early Friday, with catastrophic storm surge and torrential rains that will continue for days.

Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.

Surges and flooding will reportedly continue as it lashes SC. Harris Teeter, a Kroger Co. subsidiary, announced closings for 24 stores in North Carolina and 18 stores in SC.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home.

More than 600,000 people had already lost power by 1 p.m. Friday, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported.

As Florence moves further inland over the coming days, the storm is expected to gradually weaken.

As of 6 a.m., Florence was 10 miles (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. They had heeded officials warnings that the storm was treacherous, with record-setting rains and storm surges not seen in North Carolina in decades.

Tom Balance, owner of a seafood restaurant in New Bern, had decided against evacuating his home and was soon alarmed to see waves coming off the Neuse and the water getting higher and higher.

The downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was underwater and around 150 people were waiting to be rescued, city authorities said on Twitter.

Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center is predicting that Florence will become a tropical storm tomorrow (Sept. 15) over SC, continue northwest to eastern Kentucky, then swing northeast and track over most of New England early next week.

Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm. More than 60 people had to be rescued in another town as a cinderblock motel collapsed at the height of the storm's fury.

A mother and infant in North Carolina were among the first reported fatalities linked to Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence has barrelled into the Carolina coast and moved inland, knocking down trees, overflowing rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leading to the death of five people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

Early on Friday, South Carolina emergency officials said there was still time, "but not a lot of time" for people to leave flood-prone areas. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact-and we have that".

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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