Time almost up: Fierce Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast - Story | WFLD

Re-entry protocol for the area's islands will vary depending on bridge conditions and local requirements

Re-entry protocol for the area's islands will vary depending on bridge conditions and local requirements

"What happens is that we rescue some people and then we find out there are still more who need it", Outlaw said.

"Our preparation is now having to turn to determination and we're going to work hard to recover and recover quickly", Cooper said. "We don't know the magnitude yet of this storm, because it has just come ashore and it's going to be here a long time, and it's going to cut a wide swath across our state".

As the giant, 400-mile-wide hurricane pounded away, it unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday afternoon said that a woman and an infant were killed in that city when a tree fell on their home.

Interested in Hurricane Florence?

According to a report by the news agency Associated Press, Hurricane Florence threatens to cause historic flooding and blow catastrophic winds.

These types of slow-moving storms - like Hurricane Harvey - can be particularly unsafe because of the rain and flooding they can bring. Reacting to the possibility of a more southerly track, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency but did not immediately order any evacuations.

A pier in Surf City, N.C.as of Thursday, Sep.

As Florence moves close to the coast, the system is likely to weaken further due to its proximity of the coast along with relatively lower sea temperatures, wind shear as well as possible entrainment.

"We're out of power so we spent the first few hours of the day playing board games with candles", he said. Water kills more people in hurricanes than wind, and he said it will still be an extremely risky storm for rain and storm surge. Add Hurricane Florence as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Hurricane Florence news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Florence has been downgraded from a Category 4 to a 2, but the storm surges could put the Carolina coast under as much as 13 feet of ocean water.

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Weather forecasters have described it as a "monster" and the most powerful storm to threaten the Carolinas in nearly 30 years.

The NHC said Florence went ashore near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, at 7:15 a.m. EDT with estimated maximum winds of 90 miles per hour. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center is predicting that Florence will become a tropical storm tomorrow (Sept. 15) over SC, continue northwest to eastern Kentucky, then swing northeast and track over most of New England early next week.

"There is still time to leave", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told "CBS This Morning" on Thursday. Already hundreds of people have been evacuated from the area, while others are warned to take cover and prepare for the worst.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as sluggish and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.

Days of intense rainfall could dump more than three feet of rain on the Carolinas, as the storm stalls when it reaches the coast. That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building almost 40,000 times.

On Market Street near New Hanover High School, an old tree had fallen and blocked the westbound lanes entirely near 15th Street.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958. Airlines canceled almost 1,000 flights and counting.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Tom Balance, owner of a seafood restaurant in New Bern, had decided against evacuating his home and was soon alarmed to see waves coming off the Neuse and the water getting higher and higher.

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