Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

"You have water coming onshore and you can rainfall coming down that's trying to move out", he said. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned people: "Today the threat becomes a reality".

A man crosses a flooded street in downtown Wilmington, N.C., after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

George Zaytoun chose not to evacuate his house ahead of the storm, which had been deemed a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday.

At least 188,000 people were without power in North Carolina and SC early on Friday.

Still, she said, "I think we're going to stay put", noting her neighborhood's past success in avoiding power outages and flooding. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

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The National Hurricane Center says that "catastrophic" freshwater flooding is expected over portions of the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence inches closer to the U.S. East Coast.

Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain.

The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to 90 miles per hour (135 kph) by nightfall. Robert Faircloth has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina, for 62 years.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center. Meanwhile, Florence crept across the border into SC overnight, with tropical storm force winds still extending 175 miles from the center. North of the landfall, another 150 people near the town of New Bern required rescue from floods along the Neuse River.

Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

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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".

Florence is anticipated to move slowly over eastern South Carolina Friday night through Saturday night.

Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 10 centimetres of water, he calculated. Shortly afterward, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts to 105 miles per hour at Wilmington International Airport, the highest wind gust measured in Wilmington since Hurricane Helene hit the port city in 1958. Nationwide, airlines cancelled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.

Hundreds of people in North Carolina have been rescued from rising water. "Everybody laughs at the fact that this storm got downgraded. but I've never seen tree devastation this bad".

In Wilmington, the storm tore down numerous trees when its centre tore through the area on Friday morning. Emergency crews also rescued an Onslow family from their home where a tree fell through the roof, Jordan 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 electricity went out. "Houses. Trees", Holt said. The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach.

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At least four people have died, but authorities fear the death toll with increase as the storm crawls westward Saturday across SC. As the need arises, state and local emergency management officials are working to set up even more shelters where people can stay safe during and after the storm.

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