Flash flood fears as Florence grinds on

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A third person, a woman, died in Hampstead, NC, in Pender County.

Two people in Lenoir County were killed: a 78-year-old Kinston man who was electrocuted when connecting extension cords in the rain and a 77-year-old man who was blown down by the wind when he went to check on his hunting dogs.

EPA spokesman John Konkus said the agency is listening for any word of oil or hazardous substance spills from first responders, media reports and state and local emergency command posts.

Governor Roy Cooper called the storm, which was downgraded from a hurricane after it made landfall, an "uninvited brute". The destination for the crews is Camp McCrady, a National Guard training center in SC.

After typhoon Mangkhut leaves the Philippines, the fast-moving storm is expected to head towards Hong Kong and southern China on Sunday, forecasters said. A powerful 10-foot storm surge left around 150 people stranded and waiting to be rescued in New Bern, North Carolina, Friday morning. The number of people still not rescued fell to about 40 by Friday afternoon, according to New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw.

"Now a major hurricane with winds of 115 miles an hour and increasing, the National Hurricane Center says Florence's forecast track will take the system over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and Florence will approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday". It was downgraded Friday afternoon to a tropical storm with winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kph). "We have started to see the water recede".

The National Weather Service said on Twitter on Friday night that Morehead City had received 23.04 inches of rain with more heavy rain coming.

Power outages increased throughout Friday.

Members of the North Carolina National Guard search for evacuees in Fairfield Harbour, N.C., on Friday. During Hurricane Matthew in 2016 - North Carolina's last major hurricane - the state counted 4,071 people in 109 shelters. Also of concern were more than three dozen coal ash dumps at power plants in the region.

Also of concern is the sprawling Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia and Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in North Carolina and at Parris Island in SC. So it looks like probably Florence is slowing down as a effect, to some degree at least, from climate change.

Utility officials say almost 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas on Friday and more were expected to lose power.

A surge is likely along portions of the SC coast. That, in turn, could trigger epic flooding well inland.

"There is going to be a lot of rain. Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said Thursday. As of Saturday, about 676,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC. The rainfall will produce life-threatening flash flooding.

Grounded: Nearly 2,400 flights canceled.

Populated coastline: 11 million Americans live in areas under storm watches and warnings.

US marine recruits prepare to evacuate at Parris Island, S.C., ahead of the storm.

The city of about 29,000, which was founded in the early 1700s and was briefly the state capital, is near the North Carolina coast and is bordered on the east and south, respectively, by two rivers.