Hurricane hits Carolinas, governor warns 'it's going to get worse'

Hurricane Florence Reduces Its Intensity But Not Its Destructive Power

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.

The center downgraded Florence to a Category 1 hurricane, but warned that it still carried "very risky winds". "This water is through the first floor of your home, into the second". "We're working with our partners to provide food, water and snacks".

But forecasters said its extreme size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

According to CNN, the hurricane hit the east coast of the United States with 90-mph winds and relentless rain.

Hurricane Florence has arrived in North Carolina and is expected to bring massive floods and damage caused by heavy rain and an enormous storm surge.

Downed trees, branches on the hurricane-lashed streets of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

Hurricane-force winds extended 130km from its centre, and tropical storm-force winds reached out to 315km.

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

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

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Four shelters were now open, Roberts said, adding that dispatchers received a call for 17 people stranded all on one street. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit or to prepare for the worst. Authorities have advised people, however, to move to higher levels in their homes while they wait to be rescued.

After all that, what is left of Florence will turn north towards Rochester.

The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas. A city spokeswoman Colleen Roberts told WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been plucked to safety.

Life-threatening storm surge and rainfall are expected.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.

As of 4 a.m., Florence was 30 miles (45 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

While the center of the storm appeared to take it away from Maryland's Atlantic coast and the Chesapeake Bay, a projection by the National Weather Service showed Florence curling northward up the Appalachian Mountain range after it moves inland over North and SC.

The storm surge had decreased to about 8 feet later Friday morning, Roberts said, but that was mostly attributed to changes in the Neuse River's tide.

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.

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