Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Australian ambulance         Source

Wright is far from the only resident in the Carolinas that chose to weather Hurricane Florence, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, though many who chose to stay are starting to reconsider their decision of sticking around for what North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called a "1,000-year event".

These wind speeds place Florence at a category one hurricane, but despite the low categorisation, the amount of rain and strong storm surges mean extensive damage will be caused.

The eye of the hurricane made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, just outside Wilmington, on Friday morning, with winds of over 100mph, then stalled and began crawling inland at just 3mph.

"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday.

Satellites also continue to monitor Hurricane Florence as it passes over North Carolina to help meteorologists make more accurate predictions of how the storm will impact people living in the region.

Forecasters said the Category 1 storm's extreme size meant it could batter the U.S. East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958, the weather service said.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 280 kilometres from its center.

The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.

About 70 people in Jacksonville, North Carolina, had to be moved to safety from a hotel whose structural integrity was threatened by the hurricane.

The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said it was not too late for people to get out.

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As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted.

In Wilmington, the storm tore down numerous trees when its centre tore through the area Friday morning.

"And when the tide comes back up around noon, we will be inundated with additional storm surge", she said.

The National Hurricane Center says the eyewall of Hurricane Florence is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast.

Surges and flooding will reportedly continue as it lashes SC.

Life-threatening storm surge is being reported along the coast of the Carolinas. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

The county had been conducting water rescues since Thursday, Parker said.

Hurricane Florence already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and more is to come.

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

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