MIAMI, FL – Ed Rappoport, Deputy Director of The Hurricane Center, says Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, with storm surges and flooding rainfall in the inland areas.
Gov. Roy Cooper said parts of North Carolina could experience once-in-a-millennium flooding as the slow-moving storm dumps rain on the state for several days.
The governor said half a million people in North Carolina were without power and the Neuse River had seen storm surge as high as 10 feet.
New Bern appears to be one of the worst-hit areas, with a 10-and-a-half-foot storm surge and authorities reporting hundreds of water rescues Thursday night and Friday morning.
Police in Wilmington, N.C., reported that a mother and her infant child were killed when a tree fell on their house. The authorities also reported the death of a person who was killed while plugging in a generator, and the storm was also a factor in the death of a woman who suffered a heart attack in Hampstead.
About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters, and boats that could be used to rescue people from the floodwaters.
The NC Dept of Public Safety reported that more than 600,000 people had already lost power by 1 p.m. EST, today.
Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it’s unclear how many did. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
FEMA said the administration had teams from Georgia to Maryland ready to assist those stranded in the floodwaters.