Severe flooding after Hurricane Florence makes landfall

Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump an "epic" amount of rainfall on the USA state.

Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia, could also be in for heavy rains as Florence plods inland.

Water from the Neuse river floods the houses during the pass of Hurricane Florence the town of New Bern, North Carolina, on September 14, 2018. Dozens more were pulled from a collapsed motel.

An ominous tweet appeared on the historic North Carolina community's Twitter feed about 2 a.m. Friday.

Power outages are widespread, affecting over 740,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and 163,000 in SC.

A mother and her baby died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

In Lenoir County a 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords and another man died after being blown away by high winds while checking on his dogs.

The storm made landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the gloom of dawn Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

Properties within one mile of the river were hastily evacuated on Saturday.

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometers) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. That means the storm could easily drop 40 inches of rain in some spots. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

Power outages affecting more than 900,000 in Carolinas. With Florence, it'll be the same amount of rainfall in three days.

It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Florence blew ashore early Friday in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, buckling buildings, deluging entire communities and knocking out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses as it crawled inland and weakened into a still-lethal tropical storm.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

"And we're not done yet", Graham said, adding that some hard-hit areas could get an additional 15 to 20 inches because the storm was moving so slowly.

Weather forecasters have said the storm will eventually disintegrate over the southern Appalachians and its remnants will make a sharp rightward swing to the northeast, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of the week.

Officials have declared states of emergency in several states, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

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

Cooper warned: "Don't drive through water, no matter how confident you feel or how much you want to get out of the house".

Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.

Major river flooding expected to continue into early next week. "I think we're OK". "It's making it hard for us to move valuable resources to areas in need".

Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighborhood during Florence's assault. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband. The swift-water rescues on Saturday morning were mostly of people who hadn't heeded those orders, said Burgaw Fire Capt. Nick Smith.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".

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