'Uninvited brute': 3 dead as Florence drenches the Carolinas

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Parts of the Carolinas could see 50 cm to 76 cm, with isolated areas getting 101 cm, over seven days along the coast.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

"We know where the water's going now so we can kind of better prepare those buildings and exhibits", she said.

Marson said they'd lost power and the winds were howling outside, but they had enough food and water to last them for days.

Rain and surging seas inundated coastal areas.

"Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week".

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm smashes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawls slowly inland.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Florence's center may linger for another whole day along the Carolinas' coast - punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who've stayed behind.

More than 10 million people live in areas under warnings or watches for hurricane- or tropical storm- force winds, CNN reports.

Although Florence has weakened from a Category 4 to Category 1 storm, its area of strong winds has gotten bigger.

Except - and we don't mean to jinx it - but the storm *is* heading further south from here and the wind did die down a bit so who is to say it didn't work entirely?

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the US electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

The hurricane has caused more than 555,000 power outages in North Carolina, with almost 65,000 reported in SC, according to website poweroutage.us.

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.

"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse. More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out.

Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.

The hurricane center said the large amount of rainfall "will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding". More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.

Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida past year, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks.

"There's already water (in the) bottom part of people's houses", Todd Willis, who lives in Kennel Beach, North Carolina, said Thursday night.

This landfall has been a long time coming: The hurricane arrived more than two weeks after the National Hurricane Center issued its first advisory for the storm.

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