Florence downgraded to tropical storm just 50 miles off coast

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach South Carolina early Friday

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

The death toll attributed to Florence stands at 11, including 10 in North Carolina and one in SC.

Tragedy struck one family when a tree fell on a house; a mother and child were killed.

A gust of 105 miles per hour was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.

Rather than rebuild, they moved to Wilmington, North Carolina - where Hurricane Florence threatened their new home this week.

Wilmington police tweeted that the father was transported to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

-Three people died in Duplin County, North Carolina because of "flash flooding and swift water on roadways", the Duplin County Sheriff's Office said on its Facebook page.

"You need to stay home", said Tom Collins, Pender County's director of emergency management, adding, "If you get out there, you're stuck because there's no emergency services running right now".

Hurricane Florence smashed into the US East Coast on Friday with howling winds, torrential rains and life-threatening storm surges as emergency crews scrambled to rescue hundreds of people stranded in their homes by flood waters.

In southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC up to 40 inches of rain could fall, producing "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", said the NHC.

More than 150,000 people without power from Hurricane Florence
The forward speed of Florence has dropped from 17 miles per hour on Wednesday to 10 miles per hour during Thursday afternoon. People in areas vulnerable to the risky hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

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The question is, he said: "How do we collectively pick up the ball, change the game plan and re-position the police?" Fortunately, incidents of murder and attempted murder decreased by 50 and 8.8 per cent in the Mariannhill community.

According to the Weather Prediction Center, Wrightsville Beach had received over 18 inches of rain from 2 p.m. ET Thursday to 10 a.m. ET Friday. "It's better to just leave and then come back and see what has happened all at once".

The National Hurricane Center said Florence was forecast to keep moving farther inland across the Carolinas through the weekend before turning toward the central Appalachian Mountains early next week. She plans to continue to ride out the storm. Flooding from rain and rising rivers also was reported in New Bern.

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.

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.

Once winds drop to 73 miles per hour, Florence will become a tropical storm.

"There's already water (in the) bottom part of people's houses", Todd Willis, who lives in Kennel Beach, North Carolina, said Thursday night.

Wind speeds are only expected to weaken on Saturday as the storm moves slowly across land. Gradual weakening was expected Friday night, the hurricane center said.

Sixteen people, including an infant, were killed as Florence battered the coast off North and SC on Friday and into Saturday.

New Bern was one of the first cities affected by storm surge floodwaters after the Neuse River overflowed, flooding parts of the town.

As it moves near OH and West Virginia, it will become a remnant low.

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