More than 98,000 without power in U.S. Southeast as Florence approaches


The storm has claimed at least five lives, two of them in Wilmington, NC. The child's injured father was hospitalized.

It was initially unclear how many people ended up being rescued. It's believed he died after he was blown down while going outside to check on his dogs.

The Weather Channel reported that about 300,000 have lost power so far. At least four people were killed.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat.

And yet another tropical storm formed in the Atlantic Thursday night.

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. At this time, Florence was a Category 1 hurricane.

Sprayberry delivered one of his final briefings before the storm hit on Thursday as Hurricane Florence began her dramatic descent.

Needham, who drove all night from Miami to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to watch and record the storm surge from the relative safety of a parking garage, said the storm surge had "already gobbled up the beach" there.

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic. In Wilmington, North Carolina, the sea level is close to 8 inches (20 centimeters) higher than in 1935, according to NOAA. Additional crops, including all of North Carolina's cotton, remain to be harvested.

Near the Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington, coal ash leaked from a Duke Energy landfill.

North Carolinians made last-minute preparations and hunkered down to await Florence's arrival.

Florence is expected to slowly move west-southwest through early Saturday. It's moving north, and is expected to turn away from the U.S. The figure for SC was 170,000 customers.

Catastrophic rainfall is expected to accompany the hurricane's 110 miles per hour winds.

But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

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"There is going to be a lot of rain".

Cooper also points the worst of the storm is yet to come. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said. Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches (one meter) of rain, forecasters said.

Numerous roads were closed, and authorities warned of the risk of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled. SC saw 18.51 inches of rain from Hurricane Jerry in 1995.

About 800 flights in the region have been canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported. "And I can not stress enough the importance of adhering to the governor's orders for mandatory evacuation".

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some affected counties.

He said hurricane-force winds extend outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend almost 200 miles out.

The impact of Florence will be widespread, with destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, risky surf, torrential rainfall, flooding and the potential for tornadoes.

For days, coastal areas will be bombarded with torrential rain, high winds, coastal erosion and storm surge, while Inland areas will be poured upon. Storm surge invades rivers and estuaries, too.

Tropical Storm Isaac became Tropical Depression Isaac Friday morning. "This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina".

But a year ago, even with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, no one in the United States died of storm surge, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced. It's moving north-northeast at 18 miles per hour. "A storm can come and wipe your house out overnight". The National Weather Center upgraded Subtropical Storm Joyce to Tropical Storm Joyce in its 11 p.m. Thursday update.

Joyce, which is about 1,040 miles from the Azores, is moving south-southwest near 7 mph.

Another disturbance is swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico.