3 killed in Hurricane Florence; storm weakens to category 1

Hurricane Florence has weakened to a category 1 hurricane, with maximum 90 miles per hour winds — making landfall just before 7:30 Friday morning in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

But the storm is still a major threat. Authorities have placed Wake and Franklin counties in North Carolina under flash-flood warning, and a tornado warning for the counties of Nash, Franklin and Edgecombe.

Authorities said about 26,000 people are already spread throughout 200 shelters in North Carolina. 1,500 flights have been canceled, and over half a million homes and businesses are without power.

The Kinschs were among the families placed under military orders for mandatory evacuation.

At present, Florence has claimed three lives — including a baby and a mother — after a tree fell on their house in North Carolina.

While North Carolina has been the hardest hit by the storm it has also impacted residents in South Carolina and as it moves inland — Georgia, Virginia and Maryland could also be in peril.

“We are expecting several more days of rain and our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “And then we will shift to putting our communities back together.”

With flooding expected to continue for days because of the storm surge, residents in the path of Florence’s destruction are left to wonder, whether their communities can ever recover from the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.

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