Hurricane Florence, 2 pm Friday: New Bern pummeled

Hurricane Florence, 2 pm Friday: New Bern pummeled

The child's injured father was taken to hospital.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

An 81-year-old man fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate Wayne County, NC on Friday, according to a release from the NC State Emergency Response team.

"The storm is wreaking havoc on our state, and we're deeply concerned for farms, for businesses, for schools and even for whole communities that might be wiped away", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, D, said.

Forecasters believe the biggest danger right now is the water, not the wind.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 21 miles per hour on September 14 morning in Columbia. That amount will cause catastrophic flooding throughout the Wilmington region and shatter rainfall records, according to the weather service. The system was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon but remained a slow-moving destructive storm.

Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane with 120 miles per hour winds on Thursday but dropped to Category 1 before coming ashore. "So I had to find a place to go". By midnight, his rain gauge showed that he'd gotten 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain since midafternoon.

One hundred and fifty people in New Bern, North Carolina, are also trapped and awaiting government assistance.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3 1/2 feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which dropped off from an alarming 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week. "We have started to see the water recede".

The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines. Officials are predicting that potentially 2.5 million customers could be without power as the storm continues on.

More than 12,000 were in shelters in North Carolina.

Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street. "We're going to have to have patience, we're going to have to be careful and we're going to have to deal with a lot of water".

EPA spokesman John Konkus says the agency is listening for any reports of oil or hazardous substance spills from first responders, media reports and state and local emergency command posts. "It may be a while before we can get to you".

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USA media later said a man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs. In the state´s Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

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"Pretty soon I had a hundred of my closest friends out here helping us out", Britt said.

People are stranded on their roofs, with about 200 residents in New Bern having to be rescued so far as the storm roared ashore.

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.

"I will suggest to you that the spirits of our evacuees are relatively high", said New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet.

"It's like a bomb has gone off", Zaytoun told "Good Morning America" Friday. "I wonder how it would have been with a Category 4 or 5".

Hurricane Florence has caused some damage to Wilmington International Airport, said Gary Broughton, the airport's deputy director.

As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Service said.

Despite the downgrade the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that "life-threatening storm surges" would continue into the night, predicting "catastrophic freshwater flooding" over parts of North and SC.

"If you seek to prey upon the citizens of Brunswick County, we're going to do everything we can to lock you up", Ingram warned. "But I think we're ready".

Reilly sells real estate in the Charleston area has seen his share of storms over the past two decades, including Tropical Storm Gaston in 2004 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Rivers are rising on the north side of Hurricane Florence as the storm swirls counter-clockwise, pushing a surge of ocean water far in from the coast.

The Carolinas know all about hurricane-related flooding, having experienced Matthew two years ago and Floyd in 1999.

More than 1,300 flights for Friday had been canceled along the East Coast.

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