Multiple fatalities reported as Florence batters East Coast

NORTH CAROLINA -- Hurricane Florence made landfall early Thursday morning. In less than 24 hours, the storm had caused widespread power outages, severe flooding and multiple deaths.

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina a little after 7:30 a.m. eastern time. After coming ashore as a Category 1 Hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a Tropical Storm Friday afternoon.

It's making its mark with winds strong enough to blow the roof off gas stations and even uproot trees. A tree fell on a home in Wilmington. The police tweeted they were responding to the scene.

A man was taken to the hospital. A woman and an infant were killed.

Despite the strong winds, it's a slow-moving storm.

"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

Many cities have been flooded in the Carolinas; streets turned into raging rivers. In the city of New Bern, more than 300 people were water-rescued.

"I'm looking and I'm amazed. I've never seen this kind of damage here," a New Bern resident said.

One woman says she chose to stay behind in New Bern to help others weather the storm.

"I'm a nurse, and I will be at work taking care of the patients like we're supposed to," she said.

The storm also knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers and that number is expected to rise. More flooding and damage is expected for the next several days as rainwater drains from rivers along the coast.

Emergency crews are asking people to stay inside and not go out in the storm. Law enforcement officials are enforcing curfews.

Law enforcement officials have already arrested people who attempted to loot one East coast business.

Several sheriff's offices have assured the public they have deputies stationed in areas where people have evacuated to protect people's property from thieves.