Firefighters pray at scene where mom, baby killed during Florence

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Power suppliers report more than 350,000 outages in North Carolina, the bulk along the coast.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.

Hurricane Florence has arrived.

The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes. Add Hurricane Florence as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricane Florence news, video, and analysis from ABC News. "You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland", the center's director, Ken Graham, said.

"More people die from storm surge than any proponent of hurricanes", Kottlowsk tells TIME. "I was born and raised here and been through every storm the last 30 years, but this one seems to be doing more damage than we expected".

Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) but authorities warned the danger was far from over, predicting that "life-threatening storm surges and strong winds" would persist through the night.

The enormous storm crept at a 6 miles per hour pace, making it clear that the trouble was just beginning. The storm is some 645 kilometres wide.

Coastal flood warnings and advisories for Virginia remain in effect into Sunday morning.

The streets of the city of New Bern in North Carolina were also reported to overflow resulting in evacuations.

Two people died in Lenoir County.

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

"Flash flooding will be extreme and flood waters will come up quickly and seemingly out of nowhere", the governor said. Rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds besieged by the rising waters.

New Bern mayor Dana Outlaw discusses ongoing rescue efforts.

The previous record crest was 29 feet set during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Roberts says the storm surge continues to increase as Florence passes over the area. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, ” he said. “This is a 500- or 1,000-year event. ”Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said".

At 5 a.m., the center was all but parked over SC, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, moving west-southwest at just 5 mph (8 kph) and scooping massive amounts of moisture from the sea.

Hurricane Florence has begun battering it's way through the North Carolina coastline with heavy rain and high winds in what people fear could lead to the deaths of "a lot of people".

Later downgraded to a tropical storm, slow-moving Florence arrived over North and SC just after 7am local time on Friday, bringing torrential rain and severe floods.

A slowing tropical storm Florence continues to creep along the Carolinas today.

Winds bent trees towards the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power.

Some towns have received more than 2 feet of rain from Florence, and forecasters warned that drenching rains totaling up to 3½ feet of water could trigger epic flooding well inland through early next week.

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