Hurricane Florence: First Deaths Reported in North Carolina

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Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, but its crawling pace and overwhelming storm surges are setting up hours and hours of destruction and human suffering - with dozens desperately awaiting rescue in one flooded city alone.

Forecasters say the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence is about to make landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina.

The storm is now producing 90-mile-per-hour winds sustained with strong gusts possible.

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.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

"The rainfall is going to be the big impact for the area", Hawkins said.

At 8 a.m., the center of Florence was 10 miles (15 kilometers) south of Wilmington. But Florence's forward movement had slowed to a crawl, and it piled on the rain in a siege that could go on all weekend long. Forecasters said the torrents could continue for days, touching off disastrous flooding.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel.

Nearly 20,000 people had taken refuge in 157 emergency shelters, Cooper said.

"A basketball sized hole was found in a corner room by an Officer", officials said.

Almost 200 people have already been rescued, according to Colleen Roberts, a city public information officer, Fox News reported.

Key warnings published by the NHC at 5 a.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

Flood waters surround a house as Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on Friday.




About 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did, officials said.

Despite a mandatory evacuation ordered Tuesday, emergency officials in New Bern reported that about 150 people were waiting to be rescued, and two Federal Emergency Management Agency teams were in the area, the News & Observer of Raleigh, NC, reported.

According to Roberts, citizen volunteers with their own boats had offered to help the city coordinate rescues.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing in the Neuse River just outside his house in the town of New Bern, hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU". "Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week", according to the National Hurricane Center. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometres) north of Wilmington.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference that the "historic" hurricane would unleash rains and floods that would inundate nearly the entire state in several feet of water.

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

"This surge is also likely along portions of the SC coast", the warning continues.

The storm was about 35 miles east of Wilmington, N.C., and about 50 miles southwest of Morehead City, N.C., the National Hurricane Center's 2 a.m. EDT Friday advisory said.

Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and unsafe.

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to 90 miles per hour (135 kph) by nightfall.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 1 to 3½ feet as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days.

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