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A friend later tweeted that the woman and her family had been rescued. The video shows The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel reporting from Wilmington in North Carolina, USA, reports AJC. Power outages mounted until almost 700,000 customers were in the dark in North Carolina alone.

But the size of the storm meant the path didn't really matter.

Hurricane-force winds extended 130km from its centre, and tropical storm-force winds reached out to 315km.

"What happens is that we rescue some people and then we find out there are still more who need it", he said.

It already had, in Beaufort County and its capital city, Washington, where 300 people were rescued from flooded homes. Up to eleven-foot storm surges are expected, enough to overwhelm most of the homes here.

There are flood warnings everywhere.

He said 20,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state. They had heeded officials warnings that the storm was treacherous, with record-setting rains and storm surges not seen in North Carolina in decades.

Tom Ballance said his wife went to Atlanta and he stayed behind in their New Bern home with their three dogs and a cat.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril.

The city had to suspend rescue operations as conditions worsened, but promised trapped residents in a tweet: "We are coming to get you". "We've got some roof issues, parts of roof are coming off and we've got some fences coming down". The company said that, in advance of the storm, it has shipped 1,000 truckloads of water, over 60,000 cases of batteries and 33 truckloads of personal generators.

"Since the track is slower and the storm will reside in the area for a longer period of time rainfall amounts are expected to be extreme", Reid Hawkins, science officer for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said in a statement. The slow-moving, hurricane - downgraded to a tropical storm around 5 p.m. Friday - is expected to linger over the area this weekend continuing to create a unsafe situation.

Frustrated after evacuating his beach home for a storm that was later downgraded, retired nurse Frederick Fisher grumbled in the lobby of a Wilmington hotel several miles inland.


On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

Major river flooding expected to continue into early next week.

Forecasters say "it can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland". It blew ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

"In Harvey, vibration from wind caused [one] to register rain", said hydrodynamics branch chief Robert Holmes. Forecasters said the onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

"The strong wind gusts may down trees and power lines".

"It looks heavy outside", she said.

Donald Trump was to visit hurricane-hit zones "early to the middle of next week", the White House said, "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts".

New Bern resident Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming against his front porch. He said it was a testament to the close calls around the city. "Surviving this storm with be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

"Rivers are rising to unsafe levels, and the relentless rains will continue through the weekend", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned on Friday.

Monetary donations also are are accepted at many locations.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.


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