Hurricane ‘Florence’ rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Alexander Gerst  European Space Agency

Alexander Gerst European Space Agency

The top comment on our story says "Let it go down in history that North Carolina single-handedly managed to meme-roast a Category 4 Hurricane off course..."

A woman and her baby were killed when a tree fell on their house and at least two other storm-related deaths were reported as Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas, dousing the eastern USA states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks. The child's father was taken to a hospital.

Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins confirmed to WWAY that a woman was killed in Hempstead, Pender County after suffering a heart attack in her home. Some 3,000 people died in the aftermath of that storm.

"We knew this was going to be a big storm, but it is going to be of epic proportions", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference in Raleigh.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, more than 60 people were evacuated from a hotel after part of the roof collapsed, city officials said.

Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls westward across the Carolinas all weekend.

The centre of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 7:15am (local time) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 150kph, the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.

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By Friday evening, the centre of the storm had moved to eastern SC, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.

More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught on the coast would last for hours and hours because Florence had come nearly to a dead halt at just 3 mph (6 kph) as of midday.

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.

Florence will likely weaken as it moves inland, especially on Saturday (Sept. 15) as it moves over SC, according to National Hurricane Center predictions.

Blowing ashore with howling 155 km/h winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster. "If the number seems really insane high, you always have to have some suspicion until we can actually get out and verify it".

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

Another moving photograph captured a K-9 handler giving his dog, Tag, fluids through an IV bag to keep him healthy while conducting important search and rescue work in Pembroke, North Carolina.

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