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Four dead as Hurricane Florence continues to slam the Carolinas

16 September 2018

"Cameras outside the International Space Station captured views of Hurricane Florence on September 14 at 7:41 a.m. EDT minutes after the storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina packing winds of 90 miles an hour", NASA said in a video description.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which had dropped off from an alarming 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.

The number of people still not rescued fell to about 40 by Friday afternoon, according to New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw.

States of emergency have already been declared in both North and SC. In South and North Carolina evacuated residents of coastal areas is just over 1.5 million people. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

President Donald Trump is expected to travel to areas hit by Florence next week, once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts, the White House said on Friday.

The NHC said Hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles (130 kms) from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 195 miles (315 kms) out.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that whole communities "could be wiped away". The storm is then expected to turn westward and then northward through the Carolinas and to the Ohio Valley by Monday, the NHC said.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. The record was set by Hurricane Helene in 1958 with 135 miles per hour.

Craven County, where New Bern is located, had logged more than 100 service calls from residents trapped on their roofs or in their cars, county spokeswoman Amber Parker said.

The state's transportation secretary, James Trogdon, said the state may see "flood events" that normally only occur once every 1,000 years.

Flash flood warnings are posted across North Carolina and the worst is yet to come.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", she added.

At the Wilmington airport, the wind was measured at 105 miles per hour - the highest since 1958, Cooper said. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said Thursday. It's forecast to turn northeastward and accelerate in that direction over the weekend. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

Winds of up to 110km/h are also expected for several days as the weather system slowly grinds over. The crash happened just after 9:30 p.m. and Lee was reportedly wearing a seatbelt and the only one in the vehicle, according to Capt. Kelley Hughes with South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Four dead as Hurricane Florence continues to slam the Carolinas