Five dead as Hurricane Florence downgraded to tropical storm

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But it still brought torrential rain. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".

"We're just trying to plan for the future here, not having a house for an extended period of time", David Garrigus said. "But I think we're ready".

The National Hurricane Center says the high winds - combined with rain-soaked soil - will cause many trees to fall in coming days, crashing into homes, streets and onto power lines.

High tide is expected today at 11:33 a.m.

The hurricane center said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week. The unsafe storm surge caused damage and flooding. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", he said.

"And it's just a Category 1 hurricane", Tarr said.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.

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More than 722,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said.

The National Hurricane Center says a sustained wind of 55 miles per hour (89 kph) and a gust to 68 miles per hour (109 kph) were reported in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

About 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches, the National Weather Service said.

Police say 150-200 residents have already been rescued in New Bern and about 100 are awaiting rescue.

"We had pretty high floodwaters up until the early morning hours", Risty-Davis tells NPR's Morning Edition.

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see".

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

In New Bern, North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000, located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers. At the city's airport, the wind was gusting at 91 miles per hour. Those conditions were expected to worsen significantly.

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"The amount of water and the storm surge was very overwhelming", he said. Storm surge could be up to 13 feet, pushing seawater as much as 2 miles inland.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would move further inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern SC on Friday and Saturday.

To prepare for this storm, businesses have been boarding up, and supplies have been readied for what is expected to be a large-scale relief operation.

With their entire neighborhood evacuated in Wilmington, North Carolina, David and Janelle Garrigus planned to ride out Florence at their daughter's one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte.

By 2 p.m. Saturday, the storm won't even be halfway across SC, forecasters say.

Forecasters are anticipating landslides near the Appalachians and near-record river flooding.

WILMINGTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 14: Firefighters look into a home that a large tree fell on that has three people trapped after Hurricane Florence hit the area on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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