Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall in N. Carolina

Hurricane Florence is expected to take a westerly and then northerly path as it loses strength over the next few days

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Outside of the wind, the broad circulation of the storm will allow for a storm surge north of the center of circulation heading into Friday.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.

According to poweroutage.us, more than 500,000 customers in North Carolina and 50,000 in SC were without power on Friday morning, though the Weather Channel estimates up to 3 million customers could lose power in the Carolinas due to Florence.

It is expected to move across parts of south-eastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m.

Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge whipped the Carolina coast to begin an onslaught that could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

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The NHC said the threat of tornadoes was increasing as Florence neared shore and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said the heavy rain could trigger landslides in the west of his state.

Coastal streets were inundated with ocean water, causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses, officials said.

"We have been up here for like three or four hours", Perry added, "and there's no windows up here in the attic, so I put a light in the window so they would know someone's here". Roof shingles were peeled off a hotel.

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

Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people, and Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Charlotte Observer that about 200 had been rescued by 5 am Residents reached out for help through the night by phone and social media.

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The water "is as high as it's ever been and waves are breaking on my point, which is normally grass", said Copeland, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press.

More than 600,000 people had already lost power by 1 p.m. Friday, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported.

President Donald Trump has said protecting lives is his "absolute highest priority" and that the White House is standing by to offer affected states whatever help they request.

More than 12,000 were in shelters in North Carolina.

More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate.

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