Power outages near 800000 as Florence rocks the Carolina coast

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach South Carolina early Friday

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article reported two deaths in Carteret County, North Carolina.

A 77-year-old man was found dead at 8 a.m. Friday by his family at his home on Middle Street in Kinston.

Also in Kinston, a 77-year-old man died while checking on his hunting dogs outside in the storm.

One person died at a shelter in Brunswick County Thursday morning, according to a spokesperson for the county. An investigation is underway, but officials said it appears there's no reason for others at the shelter to worry.

The centre of Tropical Storm Florence has moved into SC, and both it and North Carolina continue to face powerful winds and catastrophic flooding. The hurricane officially hit the East Coast around 7:40 a.m. ET as a Category 1 storm.

Wrightsville Beach is the closest beach to Wilmington, and about 10 miles from the coast. "We're going to have to have patience, we're going to have to be careful and we're going to have to deal with a lot of water". The storm is expected to crawl into far southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC through Saturday, punishing the area over and over with rain and damaging winds. In South Carolina, the storm knocked out power to approximately 130,000 customers, according to Kim McLeod of South Carolina Emergency Mnagement.

Florence was inching along Friday night into Saturday, trapping people in flooded homes and promising days of destruction and human suffering.

In an exclusive interview with North Carolina's Governor, Roy Cooper said [North Carolina] has had three deaths related to the storm.

Parker says that while she's holding up OK so far, she worries about her friends and others in the community, and about how Florence might impact her home.

Officials in SC reported the state's first fatality due to Florence on Saturday.

A surge is likely along portions of the SC coast. "Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.

National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted Florence would drop up to eight months' worth of rain in two or three days. Heavy rain has fallen in and around Oriental, North Carolina, where 20.37 inches of rainfall has been measured thus far.

Flash Flood Watches are in place for the entire FOX8 viewing area.

The storm is forecast to dump about 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on USA soil, most of it in North Carolina, meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted.

Airlines cancelled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.

But on the way, she heard Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City was offering to house - for free - people from areas threatened by the hurricane until it had passed.

A state of emergency is in effect in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.

The NHC said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 195 miles out.

"The greatest storm surge inundation is expected between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and western Pamlico Sound".

In addition, the threat of storm surges looms for areas in the path of the storm, meaning life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland is possible. 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".

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