Florence Makes Landfall as Category 1 Hurricane in North Carolina

Florence weakens to Category 2 hurricane but still life-threatening: NHC | New Hampshire

Florence will dump 40 inches (101.6 cm) of rain in some parts of the Carolina coast, forecasters said.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

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. The Army Corps of Engineers were preparing to start work restoring power, installing temporary roofing and removing debris.

People in areas vulnerable to the risky hurricane, particularly those in coastal regions, have fled ahead of the storm.

Florence's circulation was pushing water ashore, especially north of its eye, in coastal or riverside towns like New Bern and Belhaven, turning land to lakes.

Forecasters said conditions will only get more lethal as the storm smashes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and crawls slowly inland.

The deadliest and most destructive element of any hurricane, the storm surge from Florence could flood tens of thousands of structures, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday.

And while the intensity of Florence's winds - still in the 90 miles per hour range - have diminished enough to turn it into a Category 1, the storm has grown in size as it crawls off the coast at a plodding 6 miles per hour.

The storm surge from Hurricane Florence is potentially life-threatening, as water is beginning to pick up along some of the roadways.

Florence had been downgraded to a Category One hurricane before landfall, and is forecast to significantly weaken as it moves across central South Carolina Saturday.

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"I stayed here. I'd been through so many hurricanes", said Balance, who added that six sheriff's officers came to his house to rescue him Friday morning, but he didn't need to leave since the tides and river were receding.

US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day.

"Even a small prediction error could have major impacts", he said.

As of 11 p.m. EST, Florence was about 50 miles south of Morehead City, North Carolina, and 60 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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

The Weather Channel used the high-tech graphic to place meteorologist Erika Navarro in a virtual street, with water levels rising steadily around her.

The path of Hurricane Florence sees it going over some of the poorest areas on the eastern seaboard.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

Schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia, airlines cancelled more than 1,500 flights, and coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely emptied out.

Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida a year ago, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks. A woman named Bree tweeted: "If anybody could help. our cars is under water and so is our house stuck in attic". But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

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