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15 September 2018, 01:33 | Dale Webster
WILMINGTON: Florence barreled into the Carolina coast and moved inland on Friday, 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.
A hilarious video which has gone viral on Twitter with over 10 million views shows a weatherman seemingly struggling to stand in high winds during Hurricane Florence - even as two men walk calmly behind him, apparently unaffected.
He said the strongest of Florence's winds have likely passed, but that the storm's worst effects had just begun Friday.
After coming ashore in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon and trudged into SC as night came. The father was taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.
In addition, a woman in Hampstead suffered a heart attack Friday morning, but emergency crews could not reach her before she died because of downed trees in the road, according to Tom Collins, Director of Emergency Management.
Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.
The Hurricane Florence has began to unleash fierce rains across the U.S. southeast.
One person was killed in Lenoir County, North Carolina while plugging in a generator, according to a press release from Governor Roy Cooper's Office.
"We're in God's hands", said Rick Foreman, pastor at West Lumberton Baptist Church, as the Lumber River steadily rose Friday and local residents filled sandbags.
Nearly 20,000 people had taken refuge in 157 emergency shelters, Mr Cooper said.
Those who didn't flee the deadly storm were seeking shelter in attics or the upper floors of homes after the hurricane marched ashore earlier in North Carolina.
WXII-TV reports the city of New Bern said Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way.
But forecasters say Florence's biggest threat, as with all hurricanes, lies in its water: a storm surge of up to 11 feet and rainfall that will trigger catastrophic flooding. State Sen. Danny Britt, R, put out a call on Facebook for volunteers to fill the sandbags and, with the help of 40 members of the National Guard, dam a railway channel that has been problematic during floods.
"I'm just trying to make myself feel at home", said Simone Brown, who has also been at the Palmetto Bays Elementary School shelter since Tuesday.
Neighbour Adam Sparks said he noticed emergency responders arrive at the house across the street right around when his power went out and the storm was intensifying. She died Friday morning.
There is really nowhere for the water to go. The hurricane had the brothers slightly anxious of storm surge, but they didn't believe there would be horrific damage.
Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.
More than 400 people had to be rescued from their homes or vehicles and some 20,000 were taking refuge in shelters across North and SC and Virginia.
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