NHC says Florence has weakened to a tropical storm

NHC says Florence has weakened to a tropical storm

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., September 14, 2018. "We can not underestimate this storm".

The storm surge, water pushed by a storm over land that would normally be dry, "overwhelmed" the town of New Bern at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, Cooper said.

More than 10 million people throughout North and SC and Virginia are under a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning as of Friday, according to the National Weather Service. A spokesperson for the ABC affiliate said that roads around the building were flooding.

The brunt of Hurricane Florence slammed North Carolina this morning with winds raging an astonishing 90 miles per hour (150 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still unsafe, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.

"If this thing comes inland and stops in eastern North Carolina like they forecast it, and we get two days of continuous rain, the rain will be our biggest damage", he said.

Watch the report above and more reporting from Wrightsville Beach, N.C. below.

Cooper said Florence was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water.

At first he thought the firefighters were there to help restore electricity, but when he saw police and paramedics arrive he knew it was something much more tragic. A man electrocuted while plugging in a generator during a heavy rain and another knocked down by wind were among the other casualties reported from the monster storm lashing the Southeast.

More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival.

The station's journalists were out in the weather Friday, reporting on the impact and posting updates to the station's Facebook page.

"Currently ~150 awaiting rescue in New Bern", the city's Twitter page said late Thursday. It's expected to move slowly over eastern SC on Friday night through Saturday night. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend. "We are not going to make it, '" Cherry said. "Think of the people who are affected by that".

According to a report from the J.P. Morgan Chase Institute, extreme weather events like the one now battering the Carolinas and Virginia can have far-reaching effects on consumers' wallets, impacting their spending for months after the storm has cleared.

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