More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts

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About150 people were awaiting rescue in New Bern, N.C. early Friday morning, and multiple news outlets report some 60 people had to be evacuated from a motel in Jacksonville, N.C. overnight after it sustained structural damage as the Category 1 hurricane made landfall. It's expected to move slowly over eastern SC on Friday night through Saturday night.

The danger came in the form of a massive storm surge.

Two people died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city's police department said. The father was taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.

Elsewhere in the storm-ravaged state a man died plugging in a power cord, and a woman died from a heart attack after rescuers were unable to reach her home past downed trees.

There was just one problem: While Seidel looked as if he needed to guard against the wind and the rain, two people walked behind him as though nothing was wrong and ruined the appearance of dire conditions.

Heavy flooding is expected, with a storm surge up to 13ft (4 metres) in the area stretching from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water.

Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street.

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"I firmly believe in Karma", said Foor, who helped rescue 100 victims after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. "My wife's in a panic right now".

"When we run the model ... that's our counter-factual world, without climate change", Reed said. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, ” he said. “This is a 500- or 1,000-year event. ”Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said".

It comes amid otherwise serious warnings for residents in North and SC as Hurricane Florence, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday, continues to put properties and lives at risk.

The National Hurricane Center said the area should also expect "life-threatening" storm surges, hurricane-strength wind gusts and "catastrophic" fresh water flooding as Hurricane Florence slowly churns inland. About 10 million people could be affected by the storm.

Hurricane Florence was inching along after making landfall Friday in North Carolina, trapping people in flooded homes and promising days of destruction and human suffering.

More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena.

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

More than 700,000 people were left without power and millions more were warned by the governor of North Carolina that they were facing "an extremely unsafe situation". Trump plans a visit to the region next week. According to forecasters, the center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina's southern coast Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday. Parts of the Carolinas could see 50 cm to 76 cm, with isolated areas getting 101 cm, over seven days along the coast.

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