Hurricane Florence makes landfall as torrential rains batter coast

Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC | New Hampshire

Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC | New Hampshire

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Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.

Florence's circulation was pushing water ashore, especially north of its eye, in coastal or riverside towns like New Bern and Belhaven, turning land to lakes.

A friend later tweeted that the woman and her family had been rescued.

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that "disaster is at the doorstep" and pleaded with residents and tourists alike not to underestimate Florence's threat to life.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home, according to CNN.

In Jacksonville, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the cinderblock structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

That's about 220 miles from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. September 14, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

In addition to inundating the coast with wind-driven storm surges of seawater as high as 9 feet along the Carolina coast, Florence could dump 20 to 30 inches of rain, with up to 40 inches in parts of North Carolina, the NHC said.

Craven County emergency crews put out the message to people stranded to shelter in place, as 150 people were waiting for help before midnight Thursday.

There also could be significant beach erosion in some area, the weather service said.

Officials say more than 100 people have already been rescued in the area overnight. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water.

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said. They're riding out the storm at their home with four children - ages 11 to 17 - Marson's friend, four dogs, two chinchillas, a cat and a lizard.

Video reports from several towns in the Carolinas showed emergency personnel wading through rippling thigh-high floodwaters in residential neighbourhoods.

As Florence drew near, President Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready".

"It's insane", he said in a phone interview. "Will it get worse?"

The head of Duke Energy Corp.'s North Carolina operations says it could take weeks to restore electricity if the company's prediction that 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers lose power.

Florence remains a Category 1 storm, and it's spinning hurricane-force winds up to 70 miles from its center.

In addition to the coastal flood warning, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Hampton Roads from Poquoson to the Virginia-North Carolina border because of Hurricane Florence.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Others, though, chose to stay at home and perhaps regretted their decision.