Hurricane Florence is moving towards land with stormy winds and heavy rains

Hurricane Florence approaches landfall in North Carolina; more than 80,000 without power

Hurricane Florence approaches landfall in North Carolina; more than 80,000 without power

Hurricane Florence is set to inundate nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, while National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted up to eight months' worth of rain in two or three days. A few hearty locals gathered at Cape Fear Wine and Beer pub in downtown Wilmington.

"These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said. "There is probably not a county or a person that will not be affected in some way by this very massive and violent storm".

Hurricane Florence claimed its first victims Friday, after a mother and her baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. The father was hospitalized with injuries.

North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities. Also, one person was killed while plugging in a generator, and a man was knocked to the ground while outside and died, authorities said.

This next video shows destruction to parts of the dock and various boats in New Bern, also courtesy LSM Brandon Clement.

New Bern Police Lt. David Daniels said early Friday morning that between 150 and 200 people had been rescued so far, with others still waiting for help.

Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street. "My wife's in a panic right now".

Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect it.

Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida a year ago, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks. He called the rain an event that comes along only once every 1,000 years.

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75 miles per hour, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.

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There were more than 455,000 power outages as of early Friday in North Carolina, according to the state department of public safety. "Trees are blowing down in the wind".

The eye of Florence, a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph sustained winds, was 25 miles east of Wilmington at 5 a.m. Friday, according to a briefing issued by the National Hurricane Center.

More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. More than 600,000 people have lost power. This is expected to cause "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were already inundated with water. Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said. Trump plans a visit to the region next week.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.

Whether residents left their homes, sought refuge in a shelter or are hunkering down, the weather service has bad news: After creeping inland, Florence "is expected to slow down even more today and tonight".

The father this system moves inland, the more Florence will weaken.

A gust of 105 miles per hour was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.

Hurricane Florence is a real, ongoing threat.

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