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Hurricane Florence: Deadly 'brute' of a storm ravages Carolinas

September 14, 2018 6:25 pm

Four people have died as Hurricane Florence mauls the US East Coast, knocking out power to 600,000 homes and causing buildings to crumble.

A mother and child were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina. The father was transported to hospital with injuries.

Dozens of people were rescued from a collapsing hotel as a huge storm surge toppled trees and swamped streets.

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Evacuation warnings are in place for 1.7 million people.

The third fatality was a Pender County, North Carolina, woman who had a medical condition.

She called for emergency assistance, but ambulance workers could not reach her in time because fallen trees blocked their route.

In Lenoir County, a person was killed while plugging in a generator, according to the governor’s office.

Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday morning as a category one storm.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that whole communities “could be wiped away” by the 400-mile-wide hurricane.

“It’s an uninvited brute who doesn’t want to leave,” he said.

The state’s transportation secretary, James Trogdon, said it may see flooding that normally only occurs once every 1,000 years.

Parts of North Carolina have seen storm surges as high as 10ft (3m).

Thousands of miles away a powerful storm has reached the Philippines. More than five million people are in the path of Super Typhoon Mangkhut, officials say.

By early afternoon on Friday Florence’s winds had weakened to 75mph, and it was expected to gradually weaken further over the weekend.

But US officials say it remains extremely dangerous because of potential catastrophic flooding.

The North Carolina governor said the hurricane was likely to “continue its violent grind across the state for days” as it crawls along at just 5mph.

Forecasters say the storm surge, together with up to 3.5ft (1m) of rain over the next few days, could spawn a slow-motion disaster.

By Friday morning, the North Carolina coastal town of Atlantic Beach had already received 30in (76cm) of rain, the US Geological Service said.

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