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Hurricane Florence: Giant, slow-moving storm causes deluge as it makes landfall

Hurricane Florence: Giant, slow-moving storm causes deluge as it makes landfall

There have been no immediate reports of storm-related deaths or serious injuries, but officials said more than 100 people were rescued in New Bern, as the downtown area of the city was under water.

Michael Nelson floats in a boat made from a metal tub and fishing floats after the Neuse River went over its banks and flooded his street during Hurricane Florence September 13, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.

The biggest danger, as forecasters saw it, was not the wind but the water: the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain over the next several days that could trigger catastrophic flooding in a slow-motion disaster well inland.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said. Some parts of New Bern could be flooded with a possible 9-foot storm surge as the Category 2 hurricane approaches the United States.

As Americans in North and SC begin to feel the effects of Hurricane Florence, The Weather Channel has reminded viewers of how unsafe storm surges can be.

Five county swift-board teams as well as the "Cajun Navy" from Louisaiana are attempting to rescue everyone they can.

"But with conditions with the way they are, there are some area where it's just not safe to perform rescues", Parker says.

Still, some residents ignored calls to evacuate.

"Right now we have extreme flooding and storm surge. We have Hurricane Florence just sort of hovering over the area right now and we expect expect it to continue doing that for some time".

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm late Thursday, and now contains maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour with higher gusts.

According to the National Hurricane Centre's 8am AST (1pm BST) advisory: "Florence remains a very large storm, which will produce unsafe impacts across southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC for the next couple of days".

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Authorities main concern with Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, rather than high winds. "I've lived here all my life".

But forecasters said its extreme size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

The impact of the storm is already being felt by those caught in its path.

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said people could still leave flood-prone areas. "This water is through the first floor of your home, into the second", Navarro says.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

In Morehead City, an NWS Meteorologist captured dramatic footage of rain water sweeping through a parking lot. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

The Wilmington Police Department said Friday that the two were killed when a tree fell on their house.

"This is an extremely unsafe and life-threatening situation".

Jacksonville Public Safety spokesperson Beth Purcell tells TIME that flood waters have not yet reached Jacksonville, but that conditions are "very poor".

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.