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Tree falling in Florence kills mom, baby — WHAT'S HAPPENING

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Providence diocese Bishop Thomas Tobin right enters the during the processional at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence R.I. Friday Sept. 14 2018 for a day of prayer and penance he called for due to the sex abuse scandal in the Roma

Hurricane Florence is "wreaking havoc" along the U.S. coast and could wipe out entire communities, North Carolina's governor has warned.

"We're deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away".

"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.

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".

Travel is extremely hazardous because of storm surge, Trogdon said, and will only get worse.

The National Hurricane Center says the tempest remains extremely risky because of the high volume of rainfall and predicted storm surges, even though its wind speeds lowered slightly on Thursday night, making it a category one hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at 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.

More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught on the coast would last for hours and hours because Florence had come nearly to a dead halt at just 3 mph (6 kph) as of midday.

More than 500,000 customers were without power, mostly in North Carolina, as the eye of Hurricane Florence went ashore near Wilmington and began its slow trek along the coast, according to poweroutage.us.

"Twenty-four to 36 hours remain of significant threat from heavy rain and heavy surge", said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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In New Bern, where a curfew was in place, city authorities said at least 150 people were awaiting rescue.

Besides federal and state emergency crews, they were being helped by volunteers from the so-called "Cajun Navy" who also turned up in Houston during Hurricane Harvey to carry out water rescues.

Hurricane Florence won't just leave fallen trees and flooded streets in its wake.

Ken Graham, the NHC's director, warned the slow pace of the storm exacerbated its danger even to areas outside its immediate path. So as the temperature of ocean water goes up, we might expect the intensity of hurricanes to increase in future.

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of sea water. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 3.5m.

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.

North Carolina is the largest tobacco grower and ranks second among USA states in hog inventory and producing broiler chickens.

In Wilmington, Mason Tarr said he spent the night at a friend's house but didn't sleep well.

The city had over 1,200 911 calls in a 12-hour span, said Roberts.

Perry says his department has been in contact with power companies and gas pipeline operators.

Gibson said she thinks some people couldn't afford to evacuate New Bern and others didn't heed evacuation warnings after Florence dropped from a Category 4 to a Category 1. In addition to the 20,000 evacuees in North Carolina shelters, SC housed 5,500 people in 59 shelters as of Thursday night, a state Red Cross spokesperson said.

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