Florence downgraded to tropical storm, but will continue to threaten Carolinas

CBS News

CBS News

In Lenoir County a 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords and another man died after being blown away by high winds while checking on his dogs.

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles (75 kilometers) west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles (45 kilometers) northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But Florence, a Category 1 when it hit, already had pounded coastal areas for hours. Hundreds of people were rescued in New Bern, North Carolina, on Friday.

Coast Guard helicopters were taking off across the street to rescue stranded people from rooftops and swamped cars.

A woman named Bree tweeted: "If anybody could help. our cars is under water and so is our house stuck in attic". Rescue workers were able only to save her father.

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern 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.

It already had, in Beaufort County and its capital city, Washington, where 300 people were rescued from flooded homes.

"It has slowed", he said. "I've never seen the water as high as it came".

"So dramatic! Dude from the weather channel bracing for his life, as 2 dudes just stroll past", said one Twitter user, whose clip has been viewed more than 17 million times.

But the size of the storm meant the path didn't really matter.

With tropical storm-force winds swirling 350 miles wide, Florence took down trees, power lines and damaged buildings.

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Power outages increased throughout Friday.

The White House said President Trump had issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina a day earlier, freeing up funds for housing and home fix. "We knew this was going to be a big storm, but it is going to be of epic proportions", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference in Raleigh. He urged residents to stay inside and not get in the way of emergency workers.

Florence could become a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared previous year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000.

"It costs to leave", Glover, who also founded the environmental justice organization Sol Nation, continued.

Storm surge was as high as 10 feet on the Neuse River, he said. In Belhaven, the rising Pungo River almost swallowed the firstfloor of a house. As of Saturday, Fayetteville has received 2.5 inches of rain but heavier rain are expected this afternoon, with more expected in the coming days, Doll said.

The White House said President Trump will tour areas affected by Florence next week, once it is determined that his visit will not disrupt rescue and recovery operations. He said the gust was the strongest recorded in Wilmington since 1958.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door to door to pull more than 60 people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Others who chose to stay at home perhaps regretted their decision.

Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs. Across the two states there are some 30,000 people staying in emergency shelters.

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