Storm Florence: The impact in numbers

Gov. McMaster cautions SC residents as Hurricane Florence moves toward state

Florence, meanwhile, was still plodding across SC at a pace slower than a normal person walks. As of 5 a.m. Saturday, the storm's center was about 35 miles west of Myrtle Beach, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm made landfall on Friday near Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 squeezed between North Carolina's Atlantic coastline and the Cape Fear River.

The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. "Don't drive across standing or moving water".

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel.

None of the people rescued were injured.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land.

The storm's center is crawling inland over SC, but many of its main rain bands still are over already-saturated North Carolina - setting up what may be days of flooding for some communities.

"Rescue workers are working in risky conditions that will only get worse today", said Cooper, who called the storm a "1,000-year rain event" for parts of southeastern North Carolina.

Rescue crews in Onslow County helped evacuate 70 people from a Jacksonville hotel early Friday after the roof collapsed and rain rushed in. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population 200,000. This comes a day after 90 miles per hour winds and torrential rain came down on North Carolina, making rivers rise to record levels. "Houses. Trees", Holt said.

One of the towns worst affected is New Bern, which sits between the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina.

"Remember most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars".

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"Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them you are risking your life", Gov. Roy Cooper said. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

About 20,000 people hunkered down in 157 schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem.

In Morehead City, what was once a building became a pile of rubble. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers. It happened in the coastal town of Swansboro.

In one piece of good news authorities said that 16 wild ponies of hurricane-struck Ocracoke Island, located off the North Carolina coast, were safe.

Myrtle Beach area residents checking the weather Saturday morning were led to believe that local emergency personnel had suspended services due to Tropical Storm Florence, but that was never the case.

"And it's just a Category 1 hurricane", Tarr told Agence France-Presse.

Rainfall totals for the storm will be similar to those in hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in 1999, the National Weather Service's Chris Wamsley said. Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore.

WILMINGTON: Florence barreled into the Carolina coast and moved inland on Friday, knocking down trees, overflowing rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leading to the death of five people before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc.

"We'll operate without power; we have candles".

"Amazing. They did awesome", said Knox, who was stranded with seven others, including a boy who was carried out in a life vest.

"This is our only home".

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