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Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Tropical Storm Florence continues to weaken as it dumps risky amounts of rain across the Carolinas.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land.

The National Hurricane Center said as much as 40in (102cm) was expected on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.

New Bern resident Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming against his front porch.

Cooper said others should not follow suit.

The victims, who have not been named, are the first confirmed deaths directly related to the powerful Category 1 storm, Wilmington Police Department said.

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"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches".

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of sea water.

While the wind is risky enough, the real risk for homes along the coast today and into the weekend is the storm surge. New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Charlotte Observer about 200 people already had been rescued by 5 a.m.

That kind of scenario is likely to repeat itself all over communities in Eastern North Carolina, as swollen rivers flood towns and the pouring rain adds to the misery.

Evacuation zones in Horry and Georgetown counties remain under the order.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths. Hanks said a fourth person died while checking on his hunting dogs, and authorities believe he was blown over by the wind. The state Emergency Management Division estimated more than 170,000 South Carolinians were without power before lunchtime Saturday.

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The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help.

Tropical Storm Florence, downgraded from a hurricane Friday, remains over the Grand Strand Saturday with the National Weather Service warning of potential flash flooding and storm surge.

The military announced Saturday it was deploying almost 200 soldiers to assist in storm-related response and recovery efforts, along with 100 trucks and equipment.

As 400-mile-wide Florence pounded away at the coast with torrential downpours and surging seas, rescue crews used boats to reach scores of people besieged by rising waters along a river.

Hurricane Florence, the vast storm meteorologists and astronauts alike have been tracking, made landfall this morning (Sept. 14) near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls westward across the Carolinas all weekend.

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And Hurricane Florence, though far from the fastest-windspeed storm in recent memory, remains a significant threat precisely due to the large surge and huge rainfall it's dumping on affected areas.

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