Florence threat continues overnight after leaving 5 dead, trapping residents in flooded homes

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WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Tropical Storm Florence is crawling slowly across South Carolina as life-threatening storm surges and strong winds are expected to continue overnight, amid a rising inland flood threat.

At least five people, including a mother and her infant, have died in North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence slowly moved from the Tar Heel State into South Carolina, officials said Friday.

After coming ashore in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon and trudged into South Carolina as night came.

Florence was inching along Friday night, trapping people in flooded homes and promising days of destruction and human suffering.

Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers -- and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the core of Florence was located at 11 p.m. Friday about 15 miles west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Top sustained winds are now about 65 mph  and the storm is moving to the west-southwest at 5 mph — a track that is expected to continue through early Saturday.

Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and South Carolina ahead.

As Florence moves further inland over the coming days, the storm is expected to gradually weaken. Forecasters say it could become a depression by Saturday night.

Continuing coverage here.

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