Weather Channel Reporter Mocked for Appearing to Exaggerate Florence

Tropical Weather North Carolina

A mother and her child were killed in Wilmington when a tree fell on their home on Friday. In Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack.

As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.

A 78-year-old man in Kinston, North Carolina, was electrocuted when he tried to connect two extension cords outside in the rain, according to Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail. Mike Doll, Senior Meteorologist at Accuweather said the winds will continue to slow down over the weekend and the main problem moving forward will be flooding due to heavy rains.

As Florence first broke on land yesterday 90mph winds struck the coastal areas, but as the storm system moved across land it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.

Florence's top sustained winds have weakened to 80kmh but it is projected to bring further catastrophic flash flooding.

By Friday evening, the center of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters that five deaths have been officially confirmed in his state, with several more under investigation.

In New Bern, along the coast, homes were completely surrounded by water, and rescuers used inflatable boats to reach people.

Spanish moss waved in the trees as the winds picked up in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

"They definitely need to be prepared." he said. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they are seeing the floodwaters rise". They ventured out in life jackets into the waste-deep water to tie the boat and another floating by to a tree.

SC Response to Florence Transitions to Flood Preparation
On its Facebook page, the county said the evacuation was in effect along the Lower Little River near the Cumberland County line. Since the storm began, weather experts gave already recorded more than 20 inches of rain in southeastern North Carolina.

To give a sense of the scope of inundation to come, the river's crest was expected at 19.1 feet, beating the record 17.9 feet set during Hurricane Matthew. More than 360 people had been carried to safety since Thursday night.

Duke Energy, which provides electricity to customers in eastern North Carolina, has roughly 380,000 customers without power.

More than 20,000 people were in 157 shelters in North Carolina, with almost 6,000 in SC shelters, officials said. Numerous evacuees took their pets.

"I feel guilty but we're trying to make the best of the situation", Jordan said.

The White House said President Donald Trump approved making federal funding available in some affected counties. Although more than $740 million in federal, state and local funds have been spent to address Matthew's damages, state officials are still working to distribute $236 million allocated by the federal government previous year to help reimburse or pay for extensive home repairs.

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Gov Cooper said. The Category 1 storm is expected to move further across parts of North Carolina and South Carolina Friday and Saturday.

New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said 455 people in all were rescued in the town of 30,000 residents without any serious injuries or deaths.

Storm Florence has battered the eastern United States coast with non-stop rain, surging seawater and howling winds.

On the other side of the world, meanwhile, more than a dozen people have died as Typhoon Mangkhut rips through the Philippines.

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