Hundreds rescued in North Carolina city as waters rose

A father and daughter learn that friends were injured in a house that a tree fell on during landfall of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington North Carolina

Watch Hurricane Florence Make Landfall in This Incredible Space Station Video

The Hurricane Center is predicting "catastrophic" flooding in the Carolinas.

Millions of people in the path of Hurricane Florence are hunkering down Friday as the monster storm pummels North and SC, bringing catastrophic inundations and flooding and forceful, destructive winds. The father was transported to a hospital for treatment. CoBank ACB, an agricultural lender, estimates damage to North Carolina farming could hit $1 billion before the storm slows. A fourth person was killed in Lenoir County while plugging in a generator, the governor's office said. However, instead of rainfall spread over 14 days, Florence will dump it all in three days.

"When the conditions in the area intensified suddenly, we made the call to have our news staff evacuate the area and team up with our sister station WPDE in Myrtle Beach to continue covering the storm and providing our viewers with vital, potentially life-saving, information", General Manager Matt Bowman said in a statement posted to the station's website.

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.

It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days.

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

"Heavy rain has been occurring in and around Oriental, North Carolina, where 20.37 inches of rainfall has been measured thus far", the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

Some of the worst flooding from the monster storm was in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, where the Neuse River overflowed its banks, flooding streets and trapping many people in their homes. And a 77-year-old man died when he was knocked over by wind, he said.

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

More than a dozen other federal agencies are involved in the preparation efforts, underscoring what's at stake for the region's residents and the Trump administration. As of early Friday afternoon, however, Florence had not turned as much as forecasted which could put Stanly more in the storm's crosshairs as originally forecast.

A street light is downed on a flooded road as Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Wilmington. "Everybody laughs at the fact that this storm got downgraded. but I've never seen tree devastation this bad".

In an otherwise quiet hurricane season, a storm by the name of Florence began speeding toward the USA, threatening homes, lives and businesses in the East Coast in mid-September. The Weather Channel estimated that up to three million customers might lose power in the Carolinas due to Florence.

Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, its 90-mph winds far slower than the fearsome 150 miles per hour of just a few days ago.

More storm surge can be seen outside a home in Belhaven, North Carolina in this video from Amy Johnson. That count is expected to rise significantly.

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. The city tweeted early September 14 that 150 people were awaiting rescue. The crews tried to move the debris with a front loader, but a tree went through the windshield, causing further delays, the officials said.

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