Hurricane Florence bears down on Carolinas

Jacob Harrelson and his wife Beth install protective plywood on a local business in anticipation of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Wednesday

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As Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach on the North Carolina coast, bringing sustained winds of 68 miles per hour and a flooding storm surge, at least three other named storms are still churning in the Atlantic.

FBN's Gerri Willis on the businesses that have closed down operations in North Carolina and SC due to Hurricane Florence.

"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house. "To those in the storm's path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place".

Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday that Florence is "wreaking havoc" and he's concerned "whole communities" could be wiped away.

Hurricane Florence will bring
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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. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 90 centimetres of rain, touching off severe flooding.

Accuweather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said the worst is far from over.

National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted Florence would drop up to eight months' worth of rain in two or three days.

Nearly 20,000 people had taken refuge in 157 emergency shelters, Cooper said. A city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been plucked to safety.

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Police confirmed the fatalities on Twitter, saying the father of the child was being transported to a local medical centre to be treated for his injuries.

"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".

"A big worry about Hurricane Florence is that it's not acting like a normal hurricane", said Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina.

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

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"It's insane", he said in a phone interview.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge. Millions of people are expected to lose power and it could take weeks to resolve the outages.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 225 km/h, the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

More than 600,000 people had already lost power by 1 p.m. Friday, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported.

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"It looks heavy outside", she said. "Florence may be weakening but will have a large storm surge".

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