Storm is generating winds of 90mph as more than 1.7m people ordered to evacuate from areas of North and South Carolina

Forecasters have warned that Hurricane Florence remains a deadly weather event as wind and rain lashed North Carolina in the first signs of the storm’s arrival near landearly on Thursday.

Florence was downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, from a category 4, but was still generating sustained winds of 90mph (150kp/h) and expected to cause “life-threatening storm surge and rainfall”, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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