Florence makes landfall near Wilmington; how often does that happen?

High winds and storm surge

High winds and storm surge

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said during a press briefing Friday morning that the storm is expected to last another 24-36 hours.

The hurricane, now downgraded to a tropical storm, was blamed by authorities for at least five deaths as of late Friday.

"WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington".

UPDATE (12:15 p.m.) - A mother and infant in North Carolina died after a tree fell on their home as a result of Hurricane Florence. The father sustained injuries and was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington for medical care.

Crews had been on the scene clearing the roads, but have since suspended operations, according to Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins.

Forecasters have warned of storm surges on coasts, savage gale-force winds and "catastrophic" flooding from torrential rain as Florence churns over North and SC today and over the weekend.

High winds and storm surge from the hurricane hit Swansboro, North Carolina, bending and uprooting trees and flooding streets.

Wrightsville Beach is the closest beach to Wilmington, and about 10 miles from the coast.

Some 200,000 people are reported to be without power as winds down power lines and cause destruction across coastlines. "It's better to just leave and then come back and see what has happened all at once".

With the center of the storm still at sea early Friday, scores of residents had to be rescued from homes and the tops of cars in New Bern, North Carolina.

She estimated 441,000 people have already evacuated because of the storm.

MPR News reports that half-million homes and businesses are without power, a statistic that will likely rise as the storm expands its reach.

It is expected to move across parts of south-eastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Amber Parker, spokesperson for Craven County, North Carolina, tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that officials are happy to have daylight on their side Friday.

The storm surge has already put some communities underwater.

Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and its restoration could take weeks.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Isaac became Tropical Depression Isaac Friday morning.

Earlier Friday morning, the New Bern Police Department pushed out a tweet showing water rescues in the city.

"I don't care if it was $250 million; it's not about that", he said.

"I didn't think it was real when I heard they were giving out rooms", said Liebelt, a communications graduate student at the University of North Carolina.

As it moves near OH and West Virginia, it will become a remnant low.

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