In the United States raging hurricane "Florence"

The view of Florence from space as she bears down on the east coast of the USA

The view of Florence from space as she bears down on the east coast of the USA

After a Friday landfall near Cape Fear, N.C., the storm is expected to drift slowly west, battering the Carolinas through the weekend.

The National Hurricane Centre warned there would be "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.

North Carolina's governor's office said a third person was killed while plugging in a generator.

"It's a very risky storm", Federal Emergency Management Authority administrator Jeff Byard said.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power September 14 morning according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. And an unusual combination of other weather systems that likely will stall Florence when it hits land, allowing it to sit for days and dump huge amounts of rain.

The hurricane is expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it continues westward into SC and Georgia.

Hurricane Florence smashed into the US East Coast on Friday with howling winds, torrential rains and life-threatening storm surges as emergency crews scrambled to rescue hundreds of people stranded in their homes by flood waters.

Search and Rescue workers from NY rescue a man from flooding caused by Hurricane Florence in River Bend, North Carolina, the United States, on September 14, 2018.

People fleeing coastal North and SC clogged highways Wednesday as Florence bore down for a direct hit in the low-lying region dense with beachfront vacation homes.

Scott's office said Florida has sent two urban search-and-rescue teams to North Carolina and SC; a nursing team of 29 people to North Carolina to help with special-needs shelters; and five ambulance teams to North Carolina to help with medical evacuations. Most of the outages are in North Carolina, though several thousand are without power in SC.

Before sunrise, high winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on September 14, 2018.

In Washington, North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods.

Downtown New Bern, on the Neuse River also is flooded.

But the NHC also said tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 195 miles (315 km) from its center, leaving a swathe of the US eastern seaboard vulnerable, much of it low-lying and stretching from Georgia north through the Carolinas into Virginia. "You may need to move up to the second storey, or to your attic, but we are coming to get you".

Storm surge watches and warnings are separated from hurricane alerts because hurricane-force winds and storm surges don't always occur at the same place or the same time, said Rick Knabb, the former director of the hurricane center, and now the hurricane expert at the Weather Channel.

On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move further inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern SC today and Saturday.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesA volunteer worker rescues a child and her family during Hurricane Florence.

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.

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