Hurricane Florence demise toll as much as 5; flooding continues

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Tropical Storm Florence trudged inland on Saturday, flooding rivers and towns, toppling trees and cutting power to almost a million homes and businesses as it dumped huge amounts of rain on North and SC, where five people have died.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper described the hurricane as likely to "continue its violent grind for days" and described the severity of the downfalls as a "1,000 year event".

The figure included a woman and her baby killed when a tree fell on their house.

Since making landfall at Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina on Friday morning, Florence's forward speed has slowed down dramatically, with the storm's center of circulation only about 100 miles away from Wrightsville Beach a full 24 hours after landfall.

Florence has landed in the Myrtle Beach area, bringing rain, wind and flooding. The streets were mostly deserted and some were blocked by fallen trees.

"It's going to be a big operation - very big", Frazier said. A local official said it was a "storm-related medical fatality", but did not elaborate.

"Know that water is rising fast everywhere, even in places that don't typically flood".

The NWS says southern and central portions of North Carolina into far northeast SC are expected to report an additional 10 to 15 inches of rainfall - with storm totals between 30 and 40 inches along the coastal areas south of Cape Hatteras.

NEW BERN, NC - SEPTEMBER 14: Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.

The 18th century town, with a population of 30,000, has been badly flooded, with 4,200 homes damaged.

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Tropical Storm Florence claimed at least one home, a roof and, possibly, a life as it made its slow march through central South Carolina Friday night and Saturday.

In one piece of good news, authorities said 16 wild ponies of hurricane-struck Ocracoke Island, located off the North Carolina coast, were safe.

(CNN) - A group of firefighters in Wilmington, North Carolina, knelt and prayed outside the home where a mother and her infant died when a tree fell Friday.

Although Brunswick County is under mandatory evacuation, Ingram said some people made a decision to stay in their homes.

Carilion's Life-Guard program director Susan Smith says the healthcare system's two other helicopters will be available for local needs, in addition to critical care ground transportation. A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling and hitting his head while packing to evacuate.

It would take a human walking at a leisurely pace about two days less time to walk from where Tropical Storm Florence sat at 11 a.m. Saturday to any point north of North Carolina.

In North Carolina, fears of what could be the worst flooding in the state's history led officials to order tens of thousands to evacuate, though it wasn't clear how many had fled or even could.

The White House said President Donald Trump would visit hurricane-hit areas next week "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts". A Flash Flood Watch along the Blue Ridge south of Roanoke and in the New River Valley went into effect Saturday.

The North Carolina Baptist Men's organization planned to begin soon moving kitchen equipment inland, where they expect to prepare 85,000 meals a day when all its feeding operations are up and running. As of Saturday afternoon, about 752,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC.