Hurricane Florence makes landfall near Wrightsville Beach, NC

WHAT'S HAPPENING: Florence will pose fatal threat for days

WHAT'S HAPPENING: Florence will pose fatal threat for days

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. A father in the same home was transported to the hospital. When they got to the home, the woman was deceased, Chad McEwen, assistant county manager for Pender County, said. The town's public information officer, Colleen Roberts, told CNN 150 more people were awaiting rescue. The governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

Emergency workers went door to door urging people to flee Florence's rising floodwaters Saturday and rescuers used inflatable boats to pluck others from homes already submerged as the storm's epic deluge swelled rivers and creeks across the Carolinas.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion litres), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimetres).

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, triggering risky flooding, toppling trees, cutting power to almost a million homes and businesses while causing at least five deaths.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm, packing winds of 90 miles per hour as it approached land.

The eye of Florence directly struck Wrightsville Beach, NC, early Friday.

With the formation of Joyce this week, there have been 10 named storms with 5 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane. One gust of 105 miles per hour was recored early Friday morning at the Wilmington worldwide airport.

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Here is a look at the storm's latest forecast bubble ...

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 840,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.

By Friday evening, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm, its winds weakening to 70 miles per hour (112 kph) as it pushed inland. A nuclear power plant in Brunswick, NC, has shut operations. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

Florence is expected to slowly move west-southwest through early Saturday. She said that count is expected to increase significantly.

While the storm is nowhere near as powerful as she was supposed to be, Florence's slow forward motion and her forecast "fish hook" dip through SC over the next twenty-four to thirty-six hours have created - and will continue to create - a host of pernicious meteorological problems for residents of the Carolinas.

At least 25 million residents on the East Coast are at risk from the hurricane, which is expected to deliver a "direct hit" this week, bringing 157 miles per hour winds, devastating flooding and even the threat of a tainted water supply.

"We're still going to get catastrophic inland flooding from heavy rains, and multibillion-dollar storm-surge damage along the coast where it hits", said Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground Inc in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain. CoBank ACB, an agricultural lender, estimates damage to North Carolina farming could hit US$1 billion before the storm slows. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said Thursday.

After coming ashore in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon and trudged into SC as night came.

The National Weather Service is forecasting "significant" river flooding, especially in the northeastern portion of the state. We see it happen in New Orleans and other areas.

"This is an absolute life-threatening scenario", Navarro said.

More storm surge can be seen outside a home in Belhaven, North Carolina in this video from Amy Johnson.

McMaster has ordered evacuations along much of the state's coast.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

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