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Hurricane Florence: Five dead with fears of ‘epic’ inland flooding

A man holds on to a rail as a gust of wind hits after Hurricane Florence struck on Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri.

Hurricane Florence: Five dead with fears of ‘epic’ inland flooding

Hurricane Florence: Five dead with fears of ‘epic’ inland flooding

Five people have died in North Carolina and although hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm, storm surges and strong winds could pose a danger for days.

Officials said five people died on Friday as Hurricane Florence continued to pummel the Carolinas with gusting winds and extremely heavy rain.

A woman and her young child were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina; a woman died in Pender county, north of Wilmington; and two elderly men died in Lenoir county.

A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina, U.S. September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz.

Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday evening, but still had sustained winds of 70mph. Officials warned that up to 50in of rain could cause catastrophic flooding into next week, with warnings that landslides could occur across western North Carolina.

An abandoned car’s hazard lights continue to flash as it sits submerged in a rising flood waters during pre-dawn hours after Hurricane Florence struck in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake.

The storm left nearly 800,000 homes and businesses without power in North Carolina. The first confirmed deaths came on Friday morning, when a mother and her child were killed in Wilmington. The child’s father was also injured and was taken to hospital.

A downed tree is pictured as Hurricane Florence comes ashore on Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri.

About 9,700 national guard troops and civilians were stationed throughout the area with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats for use in rescue operations in the aftermath.

The National Hurricane Center projected that Florence will eventually turn towards the north-east over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

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