Over 722,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

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10 people have died in North Carolina and five died in SC.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC, as well as up to 10 inches (25 cm) in southwestern Virginia.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says that as the hurricane hit the coast overnight, officers "responded to 108 calls for service and 30 collisions".

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm, CBS Greenville affiliate WNCT-TV reports.

The Wilmington Police Department said the two were killed when a tree fell on their house. In the state´s Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

WITN is reporting two people were killed in Lenoir County. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man perished when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

In the town of New Bern, homes were completely surrounded by water, and rescuers had to use inflatable boats to reach people.

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.

Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming his front porch. Jennifer Olson had been in a Wilmington hospital, about an hour away from her home in Little River, S.C.

"The worst flooding is yet to come for portions of the Carolinas, the southern/central Appalachians from western NC to west-central VA and far eastern WV", said the National Weather Service on Twitter. Areas from Wilmington through Fayetteville to Charlotte will experience 500-year to 1,000-year flood events, he said.

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Hurricane Florence pummeled North Carolina, making landfall Friday morning with storm surges and wind gusts before contributing to at least five deaths.

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75 miles per hour, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.

That includes on the roads, where high winds in the forecast could force more trees to fall down.

In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina. She plans to continue to ride out the storm.

Thousands of the 20,000 people staying in more than 150 shelters this weekend and others waiting it out elsewhere won't be able to return to their homes for good any time soon.

Forecasters say the biggest danger is the water as the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of one to three-and-a-half feet of rain over the coming days could trigger catastrophic flooding inland.

"Epic" amounts of rain are expected to continue to deluge North Carolina on Sunday, downing trees and causing rivers to overflow in areas already inundated by Florence. In South and North Carolina evacuated residents of coastal areas is just over 1.5 million people.

Leaves, branches and other debris surround and cover a sports auto after Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington.

The White House said President Donald Trump would visit the storm-ravaged region in the coming days, but only after it is determined his arrival would not disrupt continuing rescue and recovery efforts.

By Friday evening, the center of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

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