Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings ´epic´ floods

Hurricane Florence: Hundreds in New Bern awaiting rescue from 'catastrophic' storm surge

Five people, including an infant, were killed as Florence battered the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Earlier Friday, most Midlands counties were placed under a storm watch or warning, including Richland and Lexington counties - which were issued a tropical storm warning.

A new 5-minute video from the space station shows Florence coming ashore in the US for the first time.

With tropical storm-force winds swirling 350 miles (560 kilometers) wide, Florence continued deluging the Carolinas on Saturday morning after pushing surging seas far ashore.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 30 centimetres to 1 metre as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold also captured Florence making landfall from his spot on the orbiting outpost.

Tropical storm force winds (35 to 45 miles per hour, with gusts up to 55 mph) are expected in the areas under the tropical storm warnings. As of 1 p.m. ET, the storm's sustained winds dropped to 75 miles per hour as it wobbled west-southwestward near the coast, delaying its expected move inland, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., around 7:15 a.m. ET Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

According to a study in June, hurricanes and typhoons, on average, appear to be slowing down in part because of human-caused climate change.

"What happens is that we rescue some people and then we find out there are still more who need it", Outlaw said.

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Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland. "People who live in New Bern have experienced hurricanes before, but it has been a long time since we have experienced something like this".

One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now".

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.

Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday. Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.

More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire.

"We hope to have something left when we get home", she said.

"We've rescued over 100 people in New Bern, N.C.; people from Jacksonville, N.C., had to rescued from a hotel", Cooper said, describing efforts to save people in towns north of Wilmington where high floods have already hit.

"We're helping out a lot of people today", says Craven County Emergency Services spokesperson Amber Parker.

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