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15 September 2018, 02:50 | Devin Moran
Watch Hurricane Florence Make Landfall in This Incredible Space Station Video
Hurricane Florence has weakened somewhat early Thursday as its outer bands approach the North Carolina coast, but weather officials cautioned that the storm will still bring life-threatening conditions.
Florence flattened trees, buckled buildings and crumpled roads.
United States media said a fifth death may have occurred when a man tried to connect two extension cords in the rain. Highways and secondary road closures were reported throughout eastern North Carolina.
The New Bern Police Department tweeted early Thursday evening "City of New Bern officials are encouraging all residents to shelter in place due to Hurricane Florence".
While forecasters have been keeping a close eye on the storm from the ground, the International Space Station watched the slow-moving hurricane make landfall from above.
The Neuse River is about 25 feet away, and downhill from Ballance's house.
As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 115 miles per hour sustained winds, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning.
"We've heard from many of our customers across our operating area that they want to join with us to support our neighbors and communities in areas impacted by the storm", stated Food Lion President Meg Ham. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
The NHC described Florence as a "slow mover" and said it had the potential to dump historic amounts of rain on North and SC, as much as 40 inches (one meter) in some places. The company said that, in advance of the storm, it has shipped 1,000 truckloads of water, over 60,000 cases of batteries and 33 truckloads of personal generators. Forecasters said the onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.
It is expected to move across parts of south-eastern 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.
Mr Hanks said a fourth person died while checking on his hunting dogs, and authorities believe he was blown over by the wind. Five hundred National Guard troops had responded to calls by 11 a.m. Friday.
Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.
Strong winds and heavy rain continue to present a danger, and Florence is now being attributed to several deaths. "If the number seems really insane high, you always have to have some suspicion until we can actually get out and verify it". That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 10 centimetres of water, he calculated. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and the rain and storm surge will make Florence extremely risky.
This story was compiled from McClatchy papers in North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer; and in South Carolina, The State in Columbia, the Beaufort Gazette, The Island Packet in Hilton Head and The Sun News in Myrtle Beach; and supplemented with wire service reports. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins".
Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighborhood during Florence's assault.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard, that trying to get out we got thrown into trailers".
"I've been through hurricanes before", he says. Jennifer Morales, 20, said there was 3 feet of water in her home.
Florence makes landfall in US
"The sun rose this morning on an extremely risky situation and it's going to get worse", he said at a news conference in Raleigh. More than 722,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas early on Friday, utility officials said.
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