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Death toll from Florence rises to 7, North Carolina officials say

Death toll from Florence rises to 7, North Carolina officials say

At a briefing, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the risk of fatality will only grow when people venture out once the winds die down.

Hurricane Florence has arrived.

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 0.9 metres of rain, touching off severe flooding.

Firefighters in North Carolina took a moment to kneel and pray at the site where a mother and baby were killed by a tree that fell down during Hurricane Florence. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.

Heavy rain and flooding are expected to continue at least through the weekend, and local officials said hundreds in areas hit by Florence still need rescue.

At one point, the 350-mile-wide but slow-moving storm packed winds so fierce that "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor almost lost contact with CBS News' New York studio during the morning broadcast.

Cooper said many people in his state who may think the storm has missed them have not yet seen its actual threat to their regions, advising residents inland that "rivers will rise days after the rain has stopped", reaching their highest level days from now. He said five deaths were confirmed from the storm and "several others are under investigation". "Don't drive across standing or moving water", the governor said, urging people to heed evacuation orders.

"The cost to SC, if that happens, if the storm continues the way it is going, could be in the billions", Dahler said.

- Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to dump risky amounts of rain as it continues its slow slog across the Carolinas.

More news: More than 20,000 on NC coast already without power from Florence gusts

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm.

"I had a lot of fear initially but I'm glad to be inside and safe", said Zelda Allen, 74, a retired tax accountant from Hampstead, North Carolina, who was riding out the storm at Wilmington's Hotel Ballast with her husband.

Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins confirmed to WWAY that a woman was killed in Hempstead, Pender County after suffering a heart attack in her home. On Saturday morning, Carteret County Emergency Services confirmed that two people died in the county.

In Kinston, more than an hour's drive inland from the coast, Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a man was electrocuted as he attempted to connect extension cords outside in the rain.

Hurricane Florence, the vast storm meteorologists and astronauts alike have been tracking, made landfall this morning (Sept. 14) near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

On Thursday evening, the Neuse River burst its banks which caused rapid flooding in New Bern, North Carolina, forcing residents to flee as the entire city lost power. Parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 3 metres, he said. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2am. "This band could bring an additional 5 to 10 inches of rain to these areas, exacerbating ongoing flooding and likely leading to additional flooding", the bulletin said.

WXII-TV reports the city of New Bern said Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way.

Flooding concerns extend beyond the coast of North Carolina as well.