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**LIVE UPDATES** At Least 5 Dead as Florence Thrashes the Carolinas

Scenes from Hurricane Florence making landfall on the United States' east coast.
Getty: Chip Somodevilla, Logan Cyrus/AFP, Alex Edelman/AFP, NOAA

Millions of people in the path of tropical storm Florence hunkered down Friday as the monster storm pummeled North and South Carolina, bringing catastrophic inundations and flooding and forceful, destructive winds. The storm has taken the lives of at least five people.

► National Hurricane Center downgraded Florence from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Friday.

► At least five people are dead as Florence batters the Carolinas.

► North Carolina’s New Bern and Wilmington are experiencing severe flooding and extensive building damage.

► Reuters reports at least 895,000 people are without power across the Carolinas.

**Follow all of the events on the Breitbart News Live Wire below. All times in eastern.**

1:51 AM: The National Hurricane Center states Florence is causing “catastrophic flooding” in North and South Carolina,” while centered roughly 25 miles west of Myrtle Beach.

1:43 AM: According to the Associated Press, Tropical Storm Florence is practically stalled over the Carolinas and the monster storm could dump drenching rains of up to 3½ feet. That, in turn, could trigger epic flooding well inland.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper calls Florence the “uninvited brute” that could wipe out entire communities. The storm is some 400 miles wide. Power outages are widespread including over 740,000 in North Carolina and 163,000 in South Carolina. Rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds besieged by the rising waters.

Early Saturday morning Florence’s winds weakened to 65 mph as it moved forward at 5 mph and was about 15 miles west northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

12:25 AM: Reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina, Fox News correspondent Rick Leventhal says Florence possesses “a lot of fortitude.”

12:23 AM: Florence continues moving “inland” over the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, reports WXII 12 meteorologist Michelle Kennedy.

12:15 AM: The National Weather Service is extending its “Flash Flood Warning” in Goldsboro, Mount Olive, and Elroy, North Carolina until 3:30 a.m. EDT.

12:10 AM: Friday footage shows severe winds and rain reaching the Carolinas at over 100 mph.

11:57 PM: The National Weather Service has issued a “Flash Flood Warning” in areas including Fayetteville, Cary, and, Raleigh until 3:00 a.m. EDT.

11:49 PM: Tropical Storm Florence is crawling slowly across South Carolina as life-threatening storm surges and strong winds are expected to continue overnight, amid a rising inland flood threat, according to the Associated Press.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the core of Florence was located at 11 p.m. Friday about 15 miles (20 kilometers) west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Top sustained winds are now about 65 mph (100 kph) and the storm is moving to the west-southwest at 5 mph (7 kph) — a track that is expected to continue through early Saturday.

Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and South Carolina ahead. As Florence moves further inland over the coming days, the storm is expected to gradually weaken. Forecasters say it could become a depression by Saturday night.

11:19 PM: Floodwaters are reportedly rising in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

11:12 PM: Tropical Storm Florence is making its way to the Charlotte area, according to reports.

10:58 PM:

10:57 PM: The Associated Press reports one city in North Carolina has picked up more than 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain in two days from Tropical Storm Florence. The National Weather Service tweeted Friday night that Morehead City had received 23.04 inches of rain with more heavy rain coming.

Forecasters have issued what they call a flash flood emergency, saying areas of surrounding Carteret County are flooding that have never flooded before. Forecasters say it is especially dangerous after dark because people trying to escape may not realize how deep flood water is on roads. Officials recommend anyone whose home starts to flood get to the highest point they can and call 911.

About 500 people had to be rescued in flooding early Friday in New Bern, which is about 30 miles north of Morehead City. Forecasters say an additional 4 to 8 inches of rain is possible through the night.

10:52 PM: WGXA computer models forecast wind gusts in Milledgeville, Georgia, over the weekend. 

10:10 PM: See below the latest satellite images and forecast track of Florence as it moves towards South Carolina.

10:00 PM: President Trump praised the rescue efforts of first responders, law enforcement and FEMA members. “Great job FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement – not easy, very dangerous, tremendous talent,” the president tweeted. “America is proud of you. Keep it all going – finish strong!”

9:45 PM: A U.S. Coast Guard member was removed from Florence response operations Friday evening following accusations of flashing a “white power” hand gesture on MSNBC. The “white power” hand gesture, also known as the “OK” hand sign is a debunked the hoax, as extensively reported by Breitbart News’ Charlie Nash and others.

“The ‘OK’ hand gesture hoax originated in February 2017 when an anonymous 4channer announced ‘Operation O-KKK,’ telling other members that ‘we must flood Twitter and other social media websites…claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy.’ The user even provided a helpful graphic showing how the letters WP (for ‘white power’) could be traced within an ‘OK’ gesture,” the Anti Defamation League (ADL) reported in May 2017. “The ‘OK’ hoax was actually just the most recent in a recent series of hoaxes in which 4channers (and members of other, similar places on the Internet such as 8chan and Reddit) have tried to take innocuous items, symbols or gestures and falsely attribute white supremacist meanings to them in order to fool liberals and get them to spread such false messages.”

Earlier, the U.S. Coast Guard’s official Twitter account wrote: “We are aware of the offensive video on twitter – the Coast Guard has identified the member and removed him from the response. His actions do not reflect those of the United States Coast Guard.”

See the debunked gesture below.

9:44 PM: Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) is delivering a press conference regarding the storm.

9:40 PM: Below are highlights of the U.S. Army’s response to Hurricane Florence.

• Over 6,500 Soldiers have been committed to provided support to the area.
• Approximately 124 rotary wing aircraft from the U.S. Army, U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves are sheltered in the proximity of the affected storm areas and available within the first 24 hours. Additional aircraft are available within 24-72 hours if necessary.
• Approximately 800 Army High Water Vehicles from Fort Stewart, Georgia, Fort Drum, New York, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky are available for ground search and rescue, commodities distribution, citizen transportation, and patient movement.
• Army Soldiers from the 249th Engineer Battalion deployed to assist with temporary power missions — generator assessments and installations.
• The Army has nearly 3,000 cots for citizens that are displaced.
• The Army has nearly 200 medical beds ready for use.

9:35 PM: The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel shared footage of rain bands lashing Wilmington, North Carolina.

9:34 PM: Charlotte Hornets and NBA legend will offer relief aid to residents impacted by Hurricane Florence.

“It’s truly devastating for me to see the damage that Hurricane Florence is doing to my beloved home state of North Carolina and to the surrounding areas. The recovery effort will be massive, and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet,” Jordan said in a statement. “Together with the NBA, we have launched a platform to aid those most impacted. Please join me, the Hornets organization and the NBA and donate to one of the local organizations assisting in the relief and recovery efforts. To all those affected, stay safe and know that we’re here to help.”

9:28 PM: WTVD footage from earlier Friday shows ABC station reporter interrupting live broadcast to rescue dog from floodwater in New Bern, North Carolina.

9:22 PM: Getty Images snaps eerie photo of an empty Waffle House in Florence, South Carolina.

FLORENCE, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: An open Florence South Carolina Waffle House sits deserted as the center of Tropical Storm Florence blows through on September 14, 2018 in Florence, South Carolina. The storm made landfall as a category 1 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

FLORENCE, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: Deserted streets are seen as Tropical Storm Florence blows through Florence, South Carolina on September 14, 2018 in Florence, South Carolina. The storm made landfall as a category 1 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

8:52 PM: CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter on Friday evening offered up a laughable defense of The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel, who is being mercilessly mocked for exaggerating wind speeds while covering Hurricane Florence. Video shared on Twitter shows two people stroll casually by Seidel as he dramatically faces down the storm. “This looks bad, obviously. But FWIW, in @MikeSeidel‘s defense, the channel noted that “the 2 individuals in the background are walking on concrete” while he’s on wet grass, and he was “undoubtedly exhausted” from constant live shots,” Stelter tweeted.

8:44 PM: Earlier todayFirefighters knelt in prayer outside of a Wilmington, North Carolina, residence where a mother and her child were killed during Hurricane Florence.

8:33 PM: Associated Press says the sheriff of a North Carolina county hit by Florence says four men are charged with break-ins that happened after residents evacuated.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram tells news outlets the break-ins happened Thursday. He says two men are charged with possession of burglary tools and breaking and entering of a convenience store in Leland. Two other men are charged with breaking or entering of a motor vehicle.

Ingram says deputies will do everything they can to lock up people who “prey upon the citizens of Brunswick County.”

Ingram says officials made sure ahead of time to have “adequate (jail) space for anybody that wanted to try that.”

8:31 PM: President Donald Trump is assuring officials in North Carolina that the federal government is prepared to assist with any help they need as the result of widespread flooding and property damage caused by Florence, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier Friday, the president called Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Charlotte Mayor Vie Lyles, and Princeville Mayor Bobbie Jones.

The White House says Trump has been monitoring hurricane-turned-Tropical Storm Florence throughout the day and has received updates regarding the impact of the devastating storm.

The center of Tropical Storm Florence has moved into South Carolina, and both it and North Carolina continue to face powerful winds and catastrophic flooding.

Florence’s top sustained winds remain at 70 mph as it crawls west at just 3 mph.

At 8 p.m. Friday, Florence was centered about 15 miles north-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and about 55 miles east-southeast of Florence, South Carolina.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from its center. The National Hurricane Center says a sustained wind of 55 mph and a gust to 68 mph were reported in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

8:29 PM: Dozens of people in the North Carolina town of Belhaven had to be rescued from the rising waters of Pungo River and a creek that together hem in the sea-level community, per the Associated Press.

The downtown area including the municipal building and nearby homes were swamped, starting with the high tide on Thursday evening. Roads into the town of about 1,500 people remained submerged Friday, forcing the retreat of a county ambulance truck and an electricity company repair vehicle that tried to enter from the east and west along the town’s main road.

Mayor Ricky Credle was holed up at the municipal building Friday afternoon. He says the town is “closed off” amid the highest water downtown that he had ever seen.

Credle says the sheriff’s department used a high-axle truck to rescue some residents who wanted to leave, dropping them off at Red Cross shelters.

8:27 PM: The Associated Press reports officials at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington have announced the school will remain closed until further notice because of the effects of Hurricane Florence.

A memo sent out to school personnel Friday said officials “cannot yet effectively or comprehensively assess the impact on our campus.” Because of that, the school said it is unable to determine when it will resume the fall semester. The school will remain closed until further notice.

The memo said the school will give students and employees as much notice as possible before it reopens, giving weight to travel challenges and other factors. Officials said they can’t determine how the closure will affect the academic calendar.

8:23 PM: North Carolinians love their animals. Meg Baker DeMolet of Seven Lakes recorded footage of herself nursing a baby squirrel back to health after being displaced by Florence. “Her dog Rosie brought him in from the storm,” reports ABC 11.

8:14 PM: ABC 11’s Tim Pulliam reports Willow Creek Nursing Home in Goldsboro, North Carolina, is currently under evacuation. “Two buses are here to take half the residents to #Greensboro NC and the other half to #Smithfield NC. @waynecountygov suggested the facility evacuate sooner since it’s in a flood zone” Pulliam writes.

8:13 PM: At least 895,000 people have lost power as Florence continues to lash Carolinas.

8:01 PM: Rescue operations continue in a pitch-dark New Bern, North Carolina, Friday evening.

7:47 PM: Photos emerges of volunteers helping rescue residents of New Bern, North Carolina, from their homes earlier Friday as rising floodwaters consumed the area.

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, United States. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Neighborhoods are flooded after the storm surge from Hurricane Florence flooded the Neuse River September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. The storm has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Neighborhoods are flooded after the storm surge from Hurricane Florence flooded the Neuse River September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. The storm has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. The storm has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

7:45 PM: The National Weather Service says a flash flood emergency warning for various North Carolina counties will be in effect until 9 a.m. Saturday.

 7:35 PM: Boone County Fire Rescue team members search for possible residents trapped inside a home surrounded by floodwaters in Bolivia, North Carolina.

BOLIVIA, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the Boone County Fire Rescue team check for occupants in a home surrounded by flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 14, 2018 in Bolivia, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BOLIVIA, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the Boone County Fire Rescue team check for occupants in a home surrounded by flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 14, 2018 in Bolivia, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BOLIVIA, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the Boone County Fire Rescue team check for occupants in a home surrounded by flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 14, 2018 in Bolivia, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state must be prepared for several additional days of rain, winds and ultimately more flooding before the damage caused by Florence finally ends.

7:30 PM: Gov. Cooper said at a news conference Friday that as now-Tropical Storm Florence moves slowly westward this weekend, people living in south-central North Carolina will see flooding, some for the first time, reports the Associated Press. Areas at risk include the cities of Fayetteville and Charlotte and the Sandhills region.

Closer to the coast, Cooper says he issued an order to allow sandbagging in and around Lumberton to lessen the effects of a rising Lumber River. Rains starting in the mountains also ultimately could produce mudslides.

More than 750,000 people are without power in the state, and Cooper says that number is expected to rise.

The governor announced another mega-shelter would be opening on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. That’s in addition to a large shelter already open at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem. More than 19,000 people were in over 150 shelters before dawn Friday.

7:27 PM: The National Weather Service warns residents of North Carolina counties Carteret, Jones, Craven, and Pamlico that they “are losing time to evacuate before the flood water become too high.”

7:20 PM: Adm. Karl Schultz regarding Tropical Storm Florence says, “The Coast Guard activity is just starting to pick up as calls come in.”

7:17 PM: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, will reportedly be cut off from fuel and food as Florence lashes the region. “Now that is going to cause catastrophic flooding, washing out the main road in and out of Myrtle Beach,” NBC News reporter Tammy Leitner said of the storm. “What this is going to do, this is going to completely cut off access.”

“Even a bigger problem is that all the fuel supply and grocery stores were depleted before this storm, they will not be able to get any fuel or food here to Myrtle Beach,” added the correpondent.

7:01 PM: EPA spokesman John Konkus said the agency is listening for any word of oil or hazardous substance spills from first responders, media reports and state and local emergency command posts, according to the Associated Press. He said federal on-scene coordinators and equipment stand ready to deploy if needed.

Superfund sites are among the nation’s most highly polluted places. They often contain contaminated soil and toxic waste at risk of spreading if covered by floodwaters. More than a dozen Superfund sites in the Houston metro area were flooded last year during Hurricane Harvey, with breaches of potentially harmful materials reported at two.

Though it was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane at landfall Friday, Florence remains a massive storm that will dump trillions of gallons of rain on eastern North Carolina before sweeping across South Carolina.

No toxic spills had been reported as of Friday afternoon, but the region’s rivers were not expected to crest for days. Forecasters predicted severe flooding for parts of southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina starting Sunday.

The worst natural disaster in North Carolina history was Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which dumped nearly 2 feet of rain and flooded a broad swath of the coastal plain, swamping whole towns and dozens of hog farm lagoons containing millions of gallons of untreated urine and feces.

Florence, a slow-moving system that forecasters say could release more than 3 feet of rain in places, could end up being even worse.

Environmental groups said Friday that they were worried that scores of hog lagoons will burst again or be overtopped by flooding, spilling their contents into rivers used as sources of drinking water. Also of concern were more than three dozen coal ash dumps at power plants in the region. The gray ash that remains after coal is burned contains potentially harmful amounts of mercury, arsenic, and lead.

Among the Superfund sites most at risk from Florence is Horton Iron and Metal, a former shipbreaking operation and fertilizer manufacturing site in a low-lying floodplain along the Cape Fear River outside Wilmington, North Carolina. The 7.4-acre site is heavily contaminated with pesticides, asbestos, toxic metals, and cancer-causing PCBs. Upriver along the Cape Fear is Carolina Transformer Co., a 5-acre Superfund site in Fayetteville that also contains contaminated soil and groundwater contaminated with PCBs.

Forecasts call for the river to crest Monday at Fayetteville at more than 62 feet — nearly 30 feet above flood stage.

7:00 PM: Hikers are having to get off the Appalachian Trail as Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump heavy rains, causing floods and other dangerous conditions in areas the trail passes through, according to the Associated Press.

The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service have closed portions of the trail in North Carolina and Virginia because of the storms.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is urging hikers to get off the trail and seek shelter. The nonprofit said dangerous conditions could include falling trees, flash floods, and mudslides.

The Appalachian Trail stretches more than 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) from Georgia to Maine and has more than 3 million visitors each year. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says more than 3,000 people attempt to hike the entire trail each year.

6:51 PM: Footage shows rising floodwaters in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

6:43 PM: According to Fox News, at least 100 residents have been rescued in New Bern, North Carolina.

6:36 PM: In an interview with CNN, Jason Weinmann, a retired Marine, says he is using his own military truck to rescue residents of New Bern, North Carolina.

6:26 PM: Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia is offering free rooms to people forced to flee Tropical Storm Florence. “The citizens of West Virginia have been through devastating flooding in the past, so we saw this as our opportunity to give back and show that true West Virginia hospitality,” said marketing manager Lindsey McGlaughlin told WTOV.

6:18 PM: Fox News correspondent Jeff Flock has close call Friday night after transformer explodes during a live broadcast.

6:14 PM: Heartwarming moment as two men rescue a pair of cats in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

6:14 PM: More dramatic scenes from across the Carolinas as heavy rains drench the region. 

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: Law enforcement close the bridge to Pawleys Island during Hurricane Florence on September 14, 2018 in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: The driving rain from Hurricane Florence in the canals on the evacuated Pawleys Island on September 14, 2018 in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

BOLIVIA, N.C.- SEPTEMBER 14: Jacob Fernandez and Josh Fernandez (L-R) play around on the tree that fell near their home as Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 14, 2018 in Bolivia, North Carolina, United States. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BOLIVIA, N.C.- SEPTEMBER 14: Jacob Fernandez plays around on the tree that fell near his home as Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 14, 2018 in Bolivia, North Carolina, United States. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: A tree branch leans against a home as Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 14, 2018 in North Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

5:57 PM: More than 360 people had been rescued by midafternoon Friday, but another 140 were still waiting for help, city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told The Associated Press.

Crews from the city and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were working with citizen volunteers to get people to dry ground, Roberts said. There had been no reports of injuries or fatalities, though most of the city was without power and thousands of buildings had been damaged, she said.

Sixty-seven-year-old Sadie Marie Holt was among those rescued Friday.

Holt, who has diabetes and clogged arteries, said she stayed for doctor’s appointments that were canceled at the last minute. She tried to row out of her neighborhood Thursday night with a boat that was in her yard after her home began to flood, but had to retreat because of the poor conditions.

5:41 PM: President Trump salutes the Cajun Navy for lending a hand with recuse operations in the Carolinas. “THANK YOU!” the president tweeted.

5:31 PM: Flag and Banner announced it will donate a brand new American flag to North Carolina’s Frying Pan Frying Pan Shoals Lighthouse.

5:28 PM: The National Weather Service says a “Flash Flood Warning” remains in effect for North Carolina’s Vanceboro, Dover, and Cove City until 2:30 a.m. EDT.

5:19 PM: NBC News reports a fifth person was killed during Hurricane Florence after he was “blown down by wind while going outside to check on his hunting dogs,” according to local law enforcement.

5:14 PM: The Associated Press reports Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and South Carolina with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding. Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 mph, and it’s at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 mph.

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center. The National Hurricane Center says Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast.

5:00 PM: Wells Fargo is closing North Carolina branch locations early today and will not open for business on Saturday.

5:00 PM: NBC 10 News reports the total inches of rain various North Carolina towns have received since Florence’s landfall.

4:55 PM: Additional dramatic scenes from North Carolina’s New Bern and Fairfield Harbour.

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: A North Carolina National Guard truck drives underneath a fallen tree that is suspended by power lines blown down by Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: A North Carolina National Guard truck drives underneath a fallen tree that is suspended by power lines blown down by Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: A volunteer rescue truck drives underneath a fallen tree that is suspended by power lines blown down by Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

 

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: A resident parks his car on high ground on a golf course while waiting to be rescued during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

4:51 PM: National Hurricane Center has downgraded Florence from a hurricane to a tropical storm, reports the Associated Press.

South Carolina’s most popular tourist destination is riding out Hurricane Florence without major problems so far. In North Myrtle Beach, rain has been falling nearly all day and tree branches and limbs are on some roads. The power is out on the main strip, but almost no vehicles are on the six-lane highway through the center of town other than police. North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says three-quarters of the area’s 37,000 electric customers are without power.

To the south, Myrtle Beach was faring better. Power outages were spotty, and Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea says no significant property damage has been reported. No areas in South Carolina reported problems with a surge from the ocean as winds continued from the land pushing water away.

4:47 PM: A Fayetteville resident shared video of a cardinal refusing to leave a branch it’s sitting on as Hurricane Florence rages.

4:38 PM: The internet is mocking a weatherman appearing to exaggerate wind speeds as two people are seen strolling casually through his live broadcast.

4:33 PM: National Guard members with FEMA boats stand ready to assist residents of Wilmington, North Carolina.

WILMINGTON, NC- SEPTEMBER 14: National Guard trucks with FEMA boats are parked after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC- SEPTEMBER 14: A fire truck drives past a large tree blown over by Hurricane Florence on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

4:30 PM: Folks spotted enjoying a pint at an Irish pub in Wilmington, North Carolina, as the storm rolls on.

WILMINGTON, NC- SEPTEMBER 14: People gather at a Irish pub after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

4:27 PM: More scenes of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina, evacuating its flamingos.

4:20 PM: At least 741,942 customers have lost power across the Carolinas amid Hurricane Florence, according to ABC News.

4:15 PM: The Associated Press says President Donald Trump is preparing to travel to areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump will travel to the region “early to middle of next week.” Sanders adds his trip will take place “once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts.

Aides say President Trump has been monitoring the massive storm from the White House, and he has taken to Twitter to encourage those in its path to listen to their local authorities for how best to remain safe.

4:10 PM: South Carolina Emergency Management Division released an updated list of shelters throughout the state.

4:09 PM: U.S Border Patrol Chief Carla L. Provost wishes agents mobilizing for the storm to stay safe.

4:03 PM: More scenes of destruction across the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence hammers the region.

3:58 PM: The Associated Press reports it’s about the water, not the wind, with Hurricane Florence making an extended stay along the North Carolina coast. Forecasters say “it cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland.”

Officials also have confirmed the hurricane’s first known fatalities.

By the numbers:

—Still big: about 340 miles wide, with hurricane-force winds stretching across a 70-mile span

—Heavy rains: Up to 18 trillion gallons falling on seven states over seven days, as much water as there is the entire Chesapeake Bay

—So far: roughly 15 inches of rain already has fallen north of Swansboro, North Carolina, and it’s only going to get worse

—Storm surge: up to 13 feet, and seawaters could push inland 2 miles, depending on how long Florence lingers

—Stalled: Florence was nearly at a standstill Friday afternoon, moving at just 5 mph

—Intensity: Florence came ashore with top winds of 90 mph, below the 111 mph threshold for a “major” hurricane but still extremely dangerous

—In the dark: more than 645,000 outages, mostly in North Carolina, as of Friday morning, with Duke Energy anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses losing power

—Protected: 12,000 people in shelters in North Carolina, 6,400 in South Carolina and 400 in Virginia

—Populated coastline: 11 million Americans live in areas under storm watches and warnings

—Grounded: nearly 2,100 flights canceled

—Potential losses: estimated $10 billion to $60 billion in economic damages

—Rescued: more than 400 people needed help in high waters in New Bern and Jacksonville, North Carolina

3:45 PM: More scenes of destruction from North Carolina’s Moorehead and Atlantic Beach.

3:40 PM: WTVD footage shows law enforcement in New Bern, North Carolina, going door-to-door to rescue residents from their homes.

3:32 PM: Fox News correspondent Jeff Flock reports the entire island of Carolina Beach has lost power. According to Duke Energy NC President David Fountain, 400,000 customers have lost power across the Carolinas.

3:32 PM: The Washington Post reports at least four people have died in North Carolina as Hurricane Florence lashes the state.

The mother and infant were killed in Wilmington, N.C., when the tree fell over, police said. The tree also injured a third person — the father — who was taken to the hospital, according to authorities.

In Pender County, officials said that a woman died Friday morning when she was having a heart attack and emergency crews were unable to reach her in time due to downed trees and debris in the road. The crews attempting to reach her tried to move the debris with a front loader, but a tree then fell into the windshield of the equipment, causing further delays, the officials said.

“This happened this morning at the height of our storm,” a spokeswoman said. “High winds, we have tree debris … when our EMS people can’t get to something, it bothers them.” A fourth person died in Lenoir County when they were plugging in a generator, according to the office of Gov. Roy Cooper (D), which did not provide additional information.

3:13 PM: Details emerge surrounding the three deaths believed to have been caused by Hurricane Florence.

3:02 PM: WSB-TV reports three people are confirmed dead as Hurricane Florence batters the Carolinas. Details to come.

2:56 PM: Wilmington Police say a mother and her infant were killed after a tree fell on their house. They are the first confirmed fatalities of Hurricane Florence.

2:43 PM: Clemson is moving forward with plans to host its scheduled football game on Saturday while Hurricane Florence wreaks havoc on the Carolinas’ coastline with officials bracing for historic flooding and record-setting rainfall that has forced people to evacuate their homes to escape the wrath of the storm, according to the Associated Press.

School officials reiterated their plans Friday morning, saying the kickoff against Georgia Southern remains set for noon Saturday. “Clemson Athletics and the University administration continue to monitor the forecast related to Hurricane Florence very carefully,” the university statement said. “The safety of fans and the student-athletes from both universities are our top priority.”

But while Clemson officials believe the school and stadium — which are about 250 miles from the South Carolina coast — are not in harm’s way, there has been backlash for what is being viewed by some as a narrow view of the situation. There have been questions about how safe it can possibly be to have about 80,000 people — many traveling on South Carolina highways to and from the game in what could be rapidly changing conditions — together for football game and placing more demands on already strained state resources. Instead of the usual 100-110 state troopers on hand for a game, there will only be 16.

2:40 PM: A gas station pump is pictured toppled over in Wilmington, North Carolina. Additional footage from the town shows heavy winds have ripped trees out from the ground. 

2:36 PM: FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 members search North Carolina’s Fairfield Harbour for evacuees.

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 from Oakland, California, search a flooded neighborhood for evacuees during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the communities around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 from Oakland, California, search a flooded neighborhood for evacuees during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the communities around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

JAMES CITY, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team help people to higher ground after rescuing them from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in James City, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nueces and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 from Oakland, California, search a flooded neighborhood for evacuees during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the communities around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

2:33 PM: North Carolina National Guard 105th Military Police Battalion help resident into a military truck during Hurricane Florence in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina.

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the North Carolina National Guard 105th Military Police Battalion from Asheville search homes for evacuees during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the North Carolina National Guard 105th Military Police Battalion from Asheville help an evacuee into a truck during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

FAIRFIELD HARBOUR, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Members of the North Carolina National Guard 105th Military Police Battalion from Asheville search for evacuees during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

2:30 PM: Registered nurse Marie Mcdougal shares photo showing damage sustained by New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina.

2:27 PM: The Associated Press reports, numerous trees were down in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Wilmington, North Carolina, blocking driveways and falling on cars and the roofs of at least two houses.

Chris Butcher of the Arborist Plus tree service said his crew had just arrived from Edgewood, Florida, with chain saws, extended tree-trimmers , a generator, and a small front-end loader.“I’ve been on every hurricane since Fran in 1996,” Butcher said. “We are here to help. And make some money.” He was helping Mike Kiernan clear trees that had fallen on or near vehicles and damaged the front of the house.

In Greenville, North Carolina, most roads were open as the city experienced the equivalent of a conventional soaking rainfall late Friday morning. Yet, most businesses in the home of the region’s primary medical center were closed, some protected by plywood over the windows and with sandbags around the base of doorways.

Some food eateries remained available with the determined operation of the odd Bojangles and Waffle House restaurants. A Cracker Barrel restaurant was doing a brisk business. Nursing home worker Cameron Willis, 27, and East Carolina University accounting student Justin Weathers, 22, delighted in finding the restaurant open and a chance to interact with other people.

The neighbors at an apartment complex almost completely vacated ahead of Hurricane Florence said they had plenty of food available at home but needed to see what was happening in the city. “Bored and stuck in the house. There’s only so much to do,” Weathers sad.

2:24 PM: Freelance reporter Marcus DiPaola shares footage showing damage in the Seagate neighborhood of Wilmington, North Carolina.

2:20 PM: Additional footage emerges of floods plaguing Highway 70 West and other areas in Morehead City, North Carolina.

2:16 PM: The U.S. National Guard has rescued families from floodwaters in New Bern, North Carolina. Nikie Mayo of Greenville Online reports approximately 150 people in town residents remain stranded and require rescuing Friday afternoon.

2:11 PM: The Associated Press reports a weakening Hurricane Florence is almost at a standstill over southeastern North Carolina. It just barely has Category 1 hurricane strength with top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph). At 2 p.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was crawling west at 5 mph (7 kph).

The National Hurricane Center said Florence was forecast to keep moving farther inland across the Carolinas through the weekend before turning toward the central Appalachian Mountains early next week. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 170 miles (280 kilometers).

2:05 PM: Hurricane Florence caused Brian Kurian and Sierra Fairley of Wilmington, North Carolina, to cancel their wedding. “I’m devastated,” Fairley told Steven Fabian of Inside Edition. “I feel like I lost everything.” In a bid to boost their spirits, Fabian treated the couple to a “dry run” ceremony.

1:55 PM: Sand blows from gusts of wind as Hurricane Florence approaches Sullivans Island, South Carolina.

SULLIVANS ISLAND, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: Kevin Bobek, left, with his 10 week old puppy Oakley, and Lura Rollins, with her dog Owen, react to the blowing sands from the wind gusts as Hurricane Florence approaches September 14, 2018 in Sullivans Island, South Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

SULLIVANS ISLAND, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: Kevin Bobek, right, with his 10 week old puppy Oakley, and Lura Rollins, with her dog Owen, walk the beach as the sands blow from the wind gusts as Hurricane Florence approaches September 14, 2018 in Sullivans Island, South Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

SULLIVANS ISLAND, SC – SEPTEMBER 14: Kevin Bobek, right, with his 10 week old puppy Oakley, and Lura Rollins, with her dog Owen, react to the blowing sands from the wind gusts as Hurricane Florence approaches on September 14, 2018 in Sullivans Island, South Carolina. Hurricane Florence is hitting along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

1:46 PM: The National Weather Service says 14 to 15 inches of rain has already fallen north of Swansboro, North Carolina and it’s only going to get worse, the Associated Press writes.

Weather Prediction Center senior forecaster David Roth said catastrophic flash flooding is expected to continue to worsen Friday. He said that the heavy rainfall for southeast North Carolina is only one-third to one-quarter the way over. “Plenty of heavy rain remains in the future for this region,” Roth wrote in the weather center’s rain forecast discussion.

1:45 PM: Highway 70 West in Morehead City, North Carolina, is experiencing flooding.

1:44 PM: Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia have evacuated its flamingos.

1:43 PM: More scenes emerge from hurricane-battered Wilmington, North Carolina.

WILMINGTON, NC- SEPTEMBER 14: People clean debris away from the storm drains, after Hurricane Florence hit the area on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Police stand guard at the bridge leading to Wrightsville Beach, after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 14: Firefighters arrive at a home where a large tree fell on that had three people trapped, after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. One man was taken out of the home in critical condition, and the condition of two others is unknown. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

1:36 PM: A time-lapse video shows Hurricane Florence winds battering an American flag flying from Frying Pan Shoals Lighthouse located 32 miles from Bald Head Island, North Carolina, prior to the storm’s landfall.

1:34 PM: Florence’s total rainfall will likely be staggeringly huge, according to the Associated Press.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue (MOW-ee) of weathermodels.com calculates that Hurricane Florence is forecast to dump about 18 trillion gallons of rain in seven days over the Carolinas and Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

That doesn’t quite measure up to the 25 trillion gallons Harvey dropped on Texas and Louisiana last year. Maue says Harvey stalled longer and stayed closer to the coast, which enabled it to keep sucking moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

Still, 18 trillion gallons is as much water as there is in the entire Chesapeake Bay. It’s enough to cover the entire state of Texas with nearly four inches (10 centimeters) of water.

That much rain is 2.4 trillion cubic feet (68 billion cubic meters). It’s enough to cover Manhattan with nearly 3,800 feet (1.1 kilometers) of water, more than twice as high as the island’s tallest building.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough rain to cover the Tar Heel state in about 10 inches (25 centimeters) of water.

Maue calculates that 34 million people will get at least 3 inches, with more than 5.7 million getting at least a foot and about 1.5 million getting 20 inches or more.

1:32 PM: The Associated Press reports flights are grounded at several airports in the Southeast as Hurricane Florence barges through the region.

By midday Friday, airlines had canceled more than 2,100 U.S. flights from the storm’s approach on Wednesday through Sunday, according to tracking service FlightAware. The region’s two largest airports, in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, had more than 200 cancellations on Friday. Raleigh and one in eight at Charlotte.

That’s not much compared with last year’s Hurricane Harvey, which flooded runways at two major airports and caused airlines to scrub more than 11,000 flights in Houston alone. The Federal Aviation Administration says Charleston International Airport in South Carolina isn’t expected to reopen until Monday night. Wilmington International in North Carolina expects to reopen at noon Saturday.

1:29 PM: According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Florence was centered roughly 30 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina at 1 p.m local time. The storm reached maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. The agency says it is moving westward at 6 mph.

1:26 PM: Footage captures a pickup truck attempting to drive through floodwaters in New Bern, North Carolina.

1:21 PM:

Ducks swim past a park bench that is underwater as water rises past the banks of the Washington Channel in Washington, DC, September 14, 2018, as the extreme outer bands of rain from Hurricane Florence arrive in the region. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

A downed tree can be seen on Middle Street by the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina, September 14, 2018 during Hurricane Florence. – Florence smashed into the US East Coast Friday with howling winds, torrential rains and life-threatening storm surges as emergency crews scrambled to rescue hundreds of people stranded in their homes by flood waters. Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and dangerous. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC- SEPTEMBER 14: Rescue personnel remove a man from a home that a large tree fell on after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding along the Carolina coastline. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

1:15 PM: Lane Pittman, the headbanging Slayer fan who became a viral sensation for rocking out with an American flag during Hurricane Matthew, is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, facing down Hurricane Florence.

1:08 PM: According to reports, Bryan Stirling, the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, chose not to evacuate thousands of prisoners despite Gov. Henry McMaster issuing a mandatory evacuation along the state’s coast.

1:07 PM: Asked about Hurricane Florence on Fox Business Network, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) warned, “It’s going to get worse because South Carolina has yet to experience the full effects of the storm.”

1:06 PM: Wilmington Fire Department chief Buddy Marinette says it’s “highly likely” two people are dead in what may be Hurricane Florence’s first fatalities, according to Agence France-Presse’s Seb Duval.

12:58 PM: A gas station and garage located on Highway 70 in Morehead City, North Carolina, was completely destroyed by the storm.

12:57 PM: The Triangle Motor Inn in Jacksonville, North Carolina was reportedly evacuated overnight after heavy winds tore the roof off several rooms and collapsed. CBS’s Gisela Margarita says a father pictured below fled the motel with his two children before the incident.

12:55 PM: The National Weather Service says a “Flash Flood Warning” for New Bern NC, Havelock NC, Morehead City NC is still in effect until 9:00 p.m. EDT.

12:50 PM: USGS graphic tweeted by WHIO meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs shows North Carolina’s Emerald Ise and Atlantic Beach have received over 30 inches of rain in the last 24 hours.

12:40 PM: Photos and video shared on social media show large trees have toppled onto homes and commercial buildings in Wilmington, North Carolina. The town’s Mayor told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer that he’s “never seen a storm like Florence due to the duration and amount of rain forecast.”

A photo posted by WNCT sports anchor Zach Maskavich shows a door ripped off its hinges in Morehead, North Carolina.

12:34 PM: According to the Associated Press, North Carolina officials say parts of the state could experience a once-in-a-millennia flood as Hurricane Florence dumps rain for days to come. Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday that Florence is “wreaking havoc” and he’s concerned “whole communities” could be wiped away.

He said parts of the state have seen storm surges as high as 10 feet. Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said the state is expecting 1,000-year “flood events” in areas between Wilmington and Charlotte. Cooper said the state hasn’t seen any Florence-related fatalities so far, but he’s concerned about people’s safety as the storm continues.

12:23 PM: The National Weather Service confirms the total inches of rain various North Carolina towns have received since Florence’s landfall.

12:18 AM: BBC journalist Paul Blake reports Morehead City, North Carolina is currently experiencing “surge flooding.” Photos shared by Duke Energy Corporate Communications Sally Thelen show various buildings have suffered extreme damage.

11:37 AM: The Associated Press reports Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 mph winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, ripping apart buildings and knocking out power to a half-million homes and businesses as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm. Hundreds more had to be rescued elsewhere from rising waters, and others could only hold out hope someone would come for them.

“WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU,” the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. “You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU.”

More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught on the coast would last for hours and hours because Florence had come almost to a dead halt at just 3 mph (6 kph) as of midday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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