Hurricane Florence flooding 'could wipe out entire communities'

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A mother and infant were killed in Wilmington, N.C. after a tree fell on a house there while the Category 1 hurricane throttled the eastern North Carolina coastline Friday morning. The child's father was transported to the hospital with injuries.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

Two people died in Lenoir County. Investigators said the fire started as a result by a candle that was being used during a power outage.

Roberts says they're hearing from New Bern residents who were evacuated to an emergency shelter in Sandford earlier this week. National Hurricane Center meteorologist Joel Cline said the mountains will wring water out of the moist tropical air: "It's like running into a wall, and that moisture has to go somewhere, and it goes up, creates rain, and you have torrential rain in that area".

Flood conditions will worsen through the relentless rainfall over the next couple days, officials warned.

But the size of the storm meant the path didn't really matter. A spokesperson for the ABC affiliate said that roads around the building were flooding.

The National Weather Service said the area should get heavy rain through Sunday. "Do not go, and stay in place".

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur".

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

But it's not only North Carolinians who live along the coast who are being impacted by severe flooding.

New Bern Police Lt. David Daniels said early Friday morning that between 150 and 200 people had been rescued so far, with others still waiting for help. "I haven't left for any of them over the years", he said.

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"They cleared out 75 percent of the patients", she said.

"We were trying to figure out if we had enough finances to get out and if we were to get out, were we going to be able to get back home".

"Little rough, but we're all out", the station tweeted around 9 p.m. Thursday.

City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said in an interview with the AP around 10:30 a.m. Friday that about 120 others were still awaiting help.

The city of New Bern, with a population of around 30,000, is under a mandatory evacuation, according to The Weather Channel.

"I think we kind of let our guards down", he said of his community's response to the storm's being downgraded to Category 2 from 4.

"Florence is an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told NPR's Morning Edition.

Hurricane Florence is "wreaking havoc" along the United States coast and could wipe out entire communities, North Carolina's governor has warned. "It may be a while before we can get to you".

The rainfall is forecast to reach up to 40 inches in some areas over the next several days.

South Carolina Department of Transportation head Christy Hall said trees are already down in areas of Horry County and citizens should prepare for flooding. At 5:30 a.m. a reporter in a downtown hotel here in Wilmington heard the signature hurricane sound - a low, heavy humming combined with an nearly musical high note.

"We're deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away". The Carteret Country Sheriff's Office confirmed that two deaths initially reported as a result of Florence in North Carolina were a result of an apparent murder-suicide.

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