Hurricane Florence Hits Near Wrightsville Beach

Hurricane Florence

CREDIT Tom Copeland AP Shutterstock

As Hurricane Florence unleashes a deluge upon North Carolina, the city of New Bern has found itself inundated with floodwater, forcing hundreds of residents to call for help.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 story late Thursday, and now contains maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour with higher gusts.

North Carolina is now facing the brunt of the storm, though that's likely to change since weather forecasts predict Florence will head inland before moving north, towards Virginia and Maryland.

The center of the storm will make landfall near Wilmington early Friday morning.

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

Experts are warning people that the most serious threat posed by Florence might just be the massive amount of water it is expected to leave in its wake, from the storm surge that could exceed 13 feet in some areas to a deluge of rainfall that may hit 40 inches in certain pockets.

In a hurricane, as Live Science has reported, the most significant threat is flooding, not the high winds.

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A building is seen through heavy rain from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

Through the weekend, the massive storm - containing a zone of tropical-storm-force winds almost 400 miles wide - will drift inland, engulfing much of SC and southern North Carolina.

The highest numbers are being reported in New Hanover County.

Florence's center will be moving inland very soon, said the National Hurricane Center in its 5 a.m. update, but it's expected to slow down after it reaches the coast Friday.

The Weather Channel produced a forecast that shows virtual waters rising above the forecaster, creating a terrifying visualization that shows what 9 feet of water could do to a town.

With graphics depicting an intersection on a street in the American state of North Carolina, the forecaster explains what is likely to happen as the water engulfs the state's coastline amid sound effects of wind, rain and rushing water.

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More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.

The outer bands of wind and rain caused by the storm were already lashing North Carolina on Thursday morning.

With many employees at risk, Novartis said it has temporarily stopped pharmaceutical production at their Wilson, North Carolina site.

After it weakens inland, Florence is predicted to turn northward, raising concern about how additional rainfall - even from a significantly weakened storm - will impact the southwestern portion of the commonwealth, which is already water-logged.

More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.

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.

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