Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm and flooding from the heavy rain is forcing hundreds of people to call for emergency rescues in the area around New Bern, North Carolina, which sits at the confluence of the Nuese and Trent rivers.
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. A reporter for CNN Wilmington affiliate WWAY said firefighters where shaken up by what they encountered at the home. She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.
New Bern police have issued a 24-hour mandatory curfew starting at 7 a.m. Friday morning.
Florence will then turn back towards the eastern US coast, making its way to Pennsylvania by 2 a.m. ET Tuesday.
Streets remain flooded as waters continue to rise from torrential rainfall. But Outlaw said on Friday morning it's "not a bad idea to get in your auto and get west of I-95" if residents feel they can safely do so.
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As they waited for emergency workers, they heard neighbors calling for help.
"We can't just snap our fingers on this one", he said. With Florence, it'll be the same amount of rainfall in three days.
"It's the worst feeling in the world to hear people yelling for help and you can't do anything", she said. Additional swiftwater rescue teams were on the way.
By 5 a.m., about 200 people had been rescued from flooded homes in New Bern, where the National Weather Service reported 10 feet of inundation.
In Belhaven, the Pungo River roared into town, crashing up against homes at a waist-high level and higher late Thursday and early Friday, video from Amy Johnson showed.
In Morehead City, what was once a building became a pile of rubble.
She succeeded - staying awake all night, retying broken dock lines in howling winds.
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Resident Jay Manning said he and his wife watched with alarm as water filled the street. The father was taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.
"I honestly cried", Kittrell said. More are expected, as the storm could bring winds up to 45 miles per hour around the area, according to Durham County emergency management officials.
Nearly 20,000 residents are taking shelter in 157 emergency shelters according to North Carolina governor Roy Cooper.
"There is still time, but not a lot of time", said Derrec Becker of the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management.
Storm Florence has battered the eastern U.S. coast with non-stop rain, surging seawater and howling winds.
According to the National Hurricane Centre's 8am AST (1pm BST) advisory: "Florence remains a very large storm, which will produce unsafe impacts across southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC for the next couple of days".
Parts of West-central Virginia and far eastern West Virginia will see "life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with an elevated risk for landslides", according to the agency.
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