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Summary

  1. Wind and rain are whipping North Carolina's coast, after the storm made landfall
  2. Authorities have confirmed at least three deaths linked to the storm
  3. Evacuation warnings are in place for up to 1.7 million people across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia
  4. Eight months' worth of rain is expected to fall in three days
  5. Serious flooding is still expected even though it has been downgraded to a tropical storm with 70mph (110km/h) winds

Live Reporting

By Ritu Prasad

All times stated are UK

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  1. Tropical Storm Florence: Latest updates

    Abandoned minivan in floodwaters

    Florence continues to slowly wreak havoc across the Carolinas.

    Here's the current situation on the ground:

    • Three confirmed deaths, several others "under investigation"
    • About 726,500 without power in North Carolina and 110,396 without power in South Carolina
    • There are 20,000 evacuees are in 150 shelters across NC
    • Rescuers have saved hundreds in flooded New Bern, NC
    • NC river levels reach record highs as rain continues
    • Flash flood warnings continue across NC
    • Florence moves into SC today
    People sit at bar with candle light and drink
    Image caption: People sit at a bar that has no power and drink during a "Hurricane Party" in Wilmington, North Carolina
  2. Michael Jordan to help with relief efforts

    Basketball legend Michael Jordan, a North Carolina native, is working with relief organisations to provide support for victims of Hurricane Florence.

    Jordan said in a statement: “The recovery effort will be massive, and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet. Together with the NBA, we have launched a platform to aid those most impacted."

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  3. The trouble with flood insurance in America

    Women struggle with belongings in flood

    The US government has a National Flood Insurance Programme (NFIP) that helps pay for flood coverage in high-risk zones across the country - but this programme is billions of dollars in debt.

    Florence is expected to exacerbate the situation.

    The programme has been up for renewal several times - Congress' next deadline to reauthorise the NFIP is 30 November of this year.

    While some wind damage may be covered by regular homeowners' insurance, flooding is a different story.

    In the US, flood protection policies from private providers are often very expensive, largely because it is difficult to assess a home's flood risk.

    According to the Insurance Information Institute, 14% of Americans living in the southern states had flood insurance as of 2016.

  4. Hurricane Florence: Animal antics

    Here's how the Carolinas' animals are faring during the storm.

    Woman and dog rescued in boat
    Image caption: A woman and her dog are rescued from their flooded home in James City, North Carolina
    Flamingos in room
    Image caption: Flamingos at Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina wait out the storm in a sturdy room
    Fox sits on street
    Image caption: A fox sits on an empty street in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, seeking shelter ahead of the storm
    Man and dog in golf cart on beach
    Image caption: A man and his dog on the beach in South Carolina ahead of Florence
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  5. Cooper: 'We are focused on rescue'

    North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says his office is speaking with President Trump's team, as well as with other federal partners.

    "We're going to want all the help we can get," he said. "Certainly at the appropriate time we can arrange that [presidential visit] but right now we are focused on rescue. We know that into next week, our rivers are going to continue to rise and that there will be more significant flooding."

    Of the death toll, Cooper said: "We have the three confirmed deaths, but I can't say how many we have under investigation at this time. It's being determined what the cause of death is and whether they're related to the storm."

    Medical examiners at the local and state level will determine whether deaths are storm-related. Officials had earlier linked four deaths to the storm.

  6. 'Several more deaths' being investigated

    Roy Cooper at news conference

    North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper confirmed three deaths due to Florence and noted "several more deaths" are under investigation.

    "Florence is still slowly and painfully grinding its way across North Carolina, with punishing winds and flooding rains," he said. "Already today three confirmed deaths are attributed to the storm and several more deaths are under investigation. This loss of life is devastating."

    Swiftwater rescue teams and the coast guard are conducting rescues and searches in flooded areas, Cooper said during the news conference. He warned that rains will also cause landslides in western portions of the state.

    "The fact is, this storm is deadly, and we know that we are days away from it ending. If you're in the storm's path, take shelter and stay there."

  7. Florence now a tropical storm

    The National Weather Service has downgraded Florence to a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 70mph (110 km/h).

    Storm surge warnings have also been cancelled for south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and north of Salvo, North Carolina.

    Serious flooding is still occurring, with the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay Rivers in North Carolina rising to up to 12ft (3.6m) above ground level.

  8. Sec Pompeo: 'Our prayers are with them'

    US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the president is "closely monitoring" the situation and urged everyone to stay safe.

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  9. Outer Banks: Residents can return Saturday

    North Carolina's Dare County officials in the Outer Banks said on Friday that residents can come back on Saturday, and tourists should be able to visit the beaches by Sunday morning.

    Hatteras Island remains closed, but other areas have experienced minimal damage, officials say.

    Hurricane Florence continues to cause rough surf in the region, and authorities warned residents and visitors to check road conditions before travelling.

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  10. NC Governor: 'Our hearts go out to families'

    "Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

    "Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days. Be extremely careful and stay alert."

    "We are expecting several more days of rain,” he said.

    “Our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger. And then it will shift to putting our communities back together."

  11. Gas and electric hazard reminders

    NC officials remind residents to be careful with gas and electrical hazards in the wake of the storm.

    • Try to use flashlights instead of candles to avoid fires
    • Do not plug in a generator if any cords are in standing water
    • Turn off your breaker box when plugging in generators
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