Tracking Florence as tropical storm besieges Carolinas

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Hurricane Florence landfall: Satellite image show EVIL EYE of storm - Florence SMASH coast

Tropical Storm Florence continued its slow march Saturday afternoon, moving at just 3 miles per hour as it continues bringing heavy bands of rain that state officials said will continue flooding rivers and roads.

A tree that fell on a house, killing two people, is seen during Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018.

They have first confirmed fatalities related to the storm, according to the Wilmington Police Department.

A mother and her infant were killed in Wilmington when a tree fell on their home on Friday.

The father was also in the house and had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment after the incident. Police say a family of three was in a home on Mercer Avenue this morning around 9:30 when a tree fell into the property. Another person died from a cardiac arrest when emergency services could not reach her, due to downed trees blocking their path. When they got to the home, the woman was deceased, Chad McEwen, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.

Colleen Roberts, public information officer for the city of about 30,000 residents, told Fox News that 200 people had been rescued so far as the Category 1 storm battered the area with strong winds and a life-threatening surge.

Gradual weakening was expected Friday night, the hurricane center said.

"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern to a hotel some 80 miles (130 km) away.

"In about four days when all the water comes down from North Carolina, that's when we're going to have a problem".

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

With tropical storm-force winds swirling 350 miles wide, Florence continued deluging North and SC on Saturday morning after pushing surging seas far ashore.

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Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water in the river town of New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbours awaited help. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami says the core of Florence was located at 11pm Friday about 20 kilometres west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses.

Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC".

Any returning evacuees have been warned that flooding may last in the eastern Carolinas into next week, inclusive of flooding across roadways and into homes.

In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina.

At least seven people have died, a toll authorities fear will rise as the storm crawls westward across SC.

The 400-mile-wide hurricane has already splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

"The worst of the storm is over", Wright tells TIME.

The water "is as high as it's ever been and waves are breaking on my point, which is normally grass", said Copeland, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press.

"I honestly cried", Kittrell said.

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