Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

‘Catastrophic’ flooding expected by NHC; Hurricane Florence eyewall now reaching North Carolina coast

He added that the storm is moving so slowly - approximately five miles per hour - that he will be in the eye for quite a while.

In Belhaven, the Pungo River roared into town, crashing up against homes at a waist-high level and higher late Thursday and early Friday, video from Amy Johnson showed.

Florence's top winds were clocked on Thursday evening at 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 miles per hour (224 km/h) earlier this week when it was classified a Category 4 storm.

Heavy rainfall could leave nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, it's feared.

Forecasters say "it can not be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland".

It has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, but forecasters say Hurricane Florence is still capable of delivering a lethal punch.

At 9 a.m., the center of Florence was wobbling about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 85 mph (140 kmh), according to the hurricane center.

He said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 200 miles out.

Florence has left at least six people dead, including a mother and her child who died after a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina, police said.

The Red Cross said more than 1,600 people spent Thursday night in 36 Red Cross and community shelters in the Carolinas.

Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.

The National Weather Service shared images of Union Point on the shore at New Bern before and after the storm surge hit.

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Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to batter the Carolinas since Friday evening with fierce winds, driving rain and catastrophic flooding.

Officials in New Bern, which dates to the early 18th century, said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon. City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts tells WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been rescued.

NEW BERN, NC - SEPTEMBER 13: Residents try to prepare for more floodwaters at the Trent Court public housing apartments after the Neuse River went over its banks during Hurricane Florence September 13, 2018 in New Bern, United States. Storm surge up to 11-feet in the Wilmington area still pose a real danger to property and people. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU" the city's Twitter page announced.

For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit the FOX 46 Resource Center. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles north of Wilmington.

US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day.

For them, this will be like Hurricane Irma a year ago in South Florida - a long duration, relentless wind with storm surge, but times two or three.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said radar and rain gauges indicated some areas got as much as 2½ feet of rain, which he called "absolutely staggering".

Florence is expected to weaken significantly this weekend as its moves inland.

The NHC also warns of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding" through early next week.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to around 90mph.

The residents there are not only dealing with the storm surge and flooding, but no power as well.

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