Hurricane Florence Saturday live updates: Rescues, floods and compassion

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As Hurricane Florence, now a tropical storm, crawls through the Carolinas, our reporters and photojournalists are on the coast. Their Friday reports from the coast are here.

You can follow them at @_andrewcarter, @joshshaffer08, @MarthaQuillin. @vizjourno, , ,

New Bern, N.C..: A kitten, a photo, a flood

10 a.m. Both were wet. Both wore tired expressions.

A photo of Robert Simmons Jr. and his kitten has gone viral — a moment that seemed to capture how thousands like Simmons are feeling as the storm slogs through the area, waters continue to rise, threatening houses and livelihoods.

Simmons recounted his story on Friday while a kitten peered through the top of his rain jacket. Simmons had taken the animal with him on the boat. The kitten clung to Simmons, as if a newborn clinging to his mother, and while Simmons spoke, the kitten mewed.

“We done been through Bertha, Fran, Irene, Matthew,” he said on Friday afternoon, sitting in the small boat and ticking off the names of hurricanes that had come through his part of eastern North Carolina. “And this is the worst it’s ever been, in this part right here.”

Read more about the flood, Simmons and the kitten.