Still unsafe Florence weakens from hurricane to tropical storm: forecasters

The Union Point Park Complex is seen flooded as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern North Carolina

"Now a major hurricane with winds of 115 miles an hour and increasing, the National Hurricane Center says Florence's forecast track will take the system over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and Florence will approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday".

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.

Speaking during a visit to Moscow less than an hour after the hurricane made landfall in North Carolina, Perry said "we've done this many times before".

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere near an end.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed the death of the man who was electrocuted outside, CNN reported.

4 deaths were confirmed by officials as American media reported another, and the storm has wreaked havoc in the Carolinas, lashing the U.S. states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned that life-threatening storm surges, in which water is pushed by a storm over land that would normally be dry, catastrophic freshwater flooding were still expected.

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A mother and baby killed when a tree smashed into their house are among four deaths caused by Hurricane Florence.

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

As of 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 60 miles (95 kilometers) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, inching west at 2 mph (4 kph) - not even as fast as a person walking. But Florence, a Category 1 when it hit, already had pounded coastal areas for hours. Authorities are also warning of mudslides and further power outages. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated. "North Carolinians are resilient and we're going to pull together and get this thing done". It tore roofs and facades off buildings and toppled trees. Traffic lights out of order because of power failures swayed in the gusty wind. It's since slowed down even more than it had been - moving west at just 2 miles per hour. According to meteorologist Jeff Berardelli, climate change appears to be affecting areas of high pressure in the atmosphere, which can slow down storms, while rising water temperatures can make them more intense.

"If it goes up to my front step, I have to get out", Quinton Washington said. "We are stuck in the attic". The Virginia National Guard has 1,200 personnel ready to respond for missions including high water transportation, debris reduction, commodity distribution, shelter management assistance and search and rescue. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.

"We are saddened by the sudden passing of one of our community, and our hearts go out to the family and friends who are now grieving during such an already stressful period", Amanda Hutcheson, the Brunswick County Government public information officer wrote in an email.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and the experience left her shaken.

"They cleared out 75 percent of the patients", she said.

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