'Uninvited brute': 3 dead as Florence drenches the Carolinas

Hurricane Florence flooding

Hurricane Florence flooding

Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

The hurricane officially hit the East Coast around 7:40 a.m. ET as a Category 1 storm.

North Carolina Emergency Management warned residents on Friday to stay indoors, avoid stagnant or moving flood waters and have their emergency kits ready.

The weather event has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but forecasters still warn of life-threatening storm surges.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", he said.

The hurricane has moved at only 3-6 miles per hour on Friday, increasing the effect of its torrential rains.

The White House said on Friday President Donald Trump had spoken with state and local officials, assuring them the federal government was prepared to help.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km).

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In the besieged city of New Bern, rescuers had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters by midmorning, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said.

North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper, delivered a message to his state this morning.

Record water levels occurred at Wrightsville Beach, said NOAA's Ocean Service, which reported the ocean "reached reached 4.11 ft above high tide, breaking a record set by Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 by more than a foot".

Craven County, where New Bern is located, had logged more than 100 service calls from residents trapped on their roofs or in their cars, county spokeswoman Amber Parker said.

Downed trees, branches on the hurricane-lashed streets of Wilmington, North Carolina. A 105 miles per hour wind gust recorded in Wilmington Friday morning was the second-strongest ever.

Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.

Winds of up to 110km/h are also expected for several days as the weather system slowly grinds over.

This landfall has been a long time coming: The hurricane arrived more than two weeks after the National Hurricane Center issued its first advisory for the storm.

Many thousand more power customers were without electricity in northeastern South Carolina Friday night.

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