4 dead as Hurricane Florence unleashes fury in Carolinas

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 7:15am (1115 GMT Friday) in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the Carolina coast for days.

More than 60 people, including many children, were evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds collapsed part of the roof.

In New Bern, where a curfew was in place, city authorities said hundreds of people had been rescued from homes inundated with water.

There have been numerous calls for fallen trees, according to officials, however they are not aware of any others where people are trapped. "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".

As Florence pounded away, it unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than a half-million homes and businesses.

A North Carolina city situated between two rivers says it has around 150 people waiting to be rescued from rising flood waters from Hurricane Florence.

The town of Oriental, North Carolina, got more than 18 inches of rain in just a few hours, while Surf City had 14 inches.

Forecasters believe the biggest danger right now is the water, not the wind.

"Florence is an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told NPR's Morning Edition.

The station reported the fourth death involved a 77-year-old Kinston man who family members said died at 8 a.m. Friday when he was "blown down by the wind" while tending dogs.

"Flash flooding will be extreme and flood waters will come up quickly and seemingly out of nowhere", the governor said.

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After that, Florence is forecast to move northwest and north and move across western SC on Sunday, Sept. 15, and across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 16, the NHC said.

"We aren't going to try to restore power for quite some time, probably", Outlaw, the mayor, said.

National Weather Service forecasters said the storm would roam along the coast for at least two more days before reaching Columbia, South Carolina, early Sunday.

"We've got some damage that's occurring", he said.

A state of emergency was declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

More than 2,700 people took refuge at shelters, according to Horry County Spokesperson Kelly Moore.

Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to drop torrential rain across the state as the system moves into SC.

Officials have warned that the life-threatening storm could come with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph and carries a risk of "catastrophic" flooding. "I wonder how it would have been with a Category 4 or 5?" said Mason Tarr, standing on the steps of the building where he sought shelter the night before.

There is really nowhere for the water to go. The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

Florence is projected to migrate at barely more than a walking pace across northern SC, passing close to the city of Florence - truly - on Saturday.

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