5 dead in Hurricane Florence, including mom and infant

Scenes from Hurricane Florence making landfall on the United States' east coast

Scenes from Hurricane Florence making landfall on the United States' east coast

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm at 7:15 am (1115 GMT) in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the Carolina coast for days.

Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and risky.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

Since 1950, the center of 24 tropical systems (tropical storms and hurricanes combined) have either directly hit Wilmington, North Carolina have come within 25 miles of Wilmington.

Ken Graham, the NHC's director, warned the slow pace of the storm exacerbated its danger even to areas outside its immediate path.

In this photo provided by Jordan Guthrie, wind and water from Hurricane Florence damages the highway leading off Harkers Island, N.C. on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

In nearby New Bern, where water levels reached at least 10 feet overnight, 150 people requested a rescue.

In the town of New Bern, 30,000 residents stayed behind in spite of mandatory evacuation orders. "We've been watching trees being torn down and our backyard fence get ripped apart all morning from the winds", Cellucci said, describing what she's seen the category storm due just around her own property.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m.

The Carteret Country Sheriff's Department confirmed that these two deaths initially reported as a result of Florence were a result of an apparent murder-suicide.

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The storm is a Category 1 with 75 miles per hour winds and higher gusts. Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland in the Carolinas over the next few days.

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.

Storm surge could be as high as 11 feet in parts of North Carolina, prompting officials to closely watch the rise of rivers in the eastern part of the state. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 170 miles, the hurricane center said.

The storm is nearly at a standstill over southeastern North Carolina.

"From Wilmington to Charlotte, we'll experience between a 500-year and 1,000-year flood event", Trogdon warned in a late-morning briefing. The storm is then expected to turn westward and then northward through the Carolinas and to the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.

Governor Cooper said no fatalities had been reported yet but there have been "several hundred" rescue operations and "there are still some people they need to get to".

"The shelters are not taking dogs", Ramirez said.

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