Hurricane Florence making landfall in Carolinas

Hurricane Florence approaches landfall in North Carolina; more than 80,000 without power

Hurricane Florence approaches landfall in North Carolina; more than 80,000 without power

Florence, a strong Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, is causing life-threatening storm surges and pounding the coast with hurricane-force winds, the advisory said.

More than 60 others had to be rescued as a cinderblock motel collapsed. She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m.

"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere near an end.

Hurricane Florence is hitting the North Carolina coast hard. Not only this, for the next 36 hours, Florence will not just slow down but also stall for a while. "This is a 500- or 1,000-year event".

The National Hurricane Center says the eyewall of Hurricane Florence is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".

There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

The biggest danger, as forecasters saw it, was not the wind but the water - the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of 1 to 3 1/2 feet of rain during the next several days that could trigger catastrophic flooding in a slow-motion disaster well inland.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

That kind of scenario is likely to repeat itself all over communities in Eastern North Carolina, as swollen rivers flood towns and the pouring rain adds to the misery. Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit the FOX 46 Resource Center.

Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated. Pieces of ripped-apart buildings flew through the air. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

And about 46 miles (74 kilometres) farther up the waterfront, in New Bern, about 150 people were waiting to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.

200 people have been rescued from homes in New Bern, while another 150 were trapped on Friday morning. Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers. These waters are expected to rise as the tides come back in.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the power failed.

"(It's) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and fears splintering trees will pummel her house.

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water. Tens of thousands of homes are without power and sea water.

Nearly 20,000 people had taken refuge in 157 emergency shelters, Cooper said. "Please keep that in mind", and consider leaving soon, Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said midmorning Thursday.

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

Twitter user Natasha Patterson shared video of flooding in New Bern, North Carolina on social media.