Wind approaches outer banks of North Carolina

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.

Forecasters say the center of the eye of Florence has made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 30 centimetres to 1 metre 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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Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 30 inches of rain, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It's hard to believe while looking at these images, but this isn't even the biggest storm devastating the planet right now.

Richmond, Va. -based Dominion Energy, which provides power in the northeastern corner of North Carolina, was reporting over 1,900 scattered outages.

One team from Maryland helped with about 40 rescues in New Bern starting Thursday, member Mitchell Rusland said.

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.

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Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said that there were so many fires at a particular time that you could not even see the sky. Some 400 people spent the night in shelters, and school was canceled Friday as families waited to return to their homes.

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North Carolina alone is forecast to get 36 trillion litres, enough to cover the North Carolina to a depth of about 25 cm. By that time, emergency crews had already been deployed to parts of the state where people were trapped by floodwaters.

"Flash flooding will be extreme and flood waters will come up quickly and seemingly out of nowhere", the governor said.

The National Hurricane Center says the eyewall of Hurricane Florence is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the authorities in New Bern said on Twitter.

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.

Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and SC ahead. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.

Not everyone was taking Florence too seriously: About two dozen locals gathered Thursday night behind the boarded-up windows of The Barbary Coast bar as Florence blew into Wilmington.

He said 20,000 people were being housed in shelters across the state.

Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and that restoring it could take weeks.

It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore.

"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. "I wonder how it would have been with a Category 4 or 5?" said Mason Tarr, standing on the steps of the building where he sought shelter the night before.

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