Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend. Some residents have reported that they are trapped in their attics and on their roofs as storm surge has flooded the lower levels of their homes.
On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", warning it could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. Areas like New Bern also could see an additional 3 to 5 feet of storm surge as high tide combines with the seawater still being pushed ashore by Florence, Graham said. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.
"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", said Ballance, owner of a seafood restaurant that was flooded. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, just before 8 a.m.
But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. Some areas of North Carolina saw nearly a foot of rain in just a few hours. Its forward movement was 6 miles per hour (9 kph). Hurricane Florence will get a flat ground after its landfall for several miles which will further enhance the damaging capabilities of the Hurricane. Another one of the bears ended up in the middle of the street in the background.
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Almost 300,000 customers in North Carolina were meanwhile reported to be without power as the outer band of the storm approached.
The storm's maximum sustained winds held at about 90 miles per hour, and it appeared that the north side of the eye was the most risky place to be as Florence moved ashore.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.
According to fuel-station finding app GasBuddy, about 52 percent of stations Thursday in Wilmington, North Carolina were out of gas.
Florence crashed ashore Friday morning in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, and it has wiped out power to about 964,000 customers in that state and SC.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay, he calculated.
Flood waters surround a house as Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro N.C., on Friday.
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On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.
The NWS reported "lots of tree damage, debris and power lines down" across Harkers Island, N.C.
Some towns have already been soaked by more than 2 feet (60 centimeters) of drenching rains, and forecasters warned that totals could reach 3½ feet (1 meter), unleashing floods well inland through early next week. But the storm was shaping up as a two-part disaster, with the second, delayed-action stage consisting of inland flooding, caused by rainwater working its way into rivers and streams.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m.
"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.
He wrote: "Getting real serious in Buxton".
He said he could see the sky and birds flying, a striking contrast to the powerful wind and rains that battered the area just half an hour before.
Trinidadians in the Carolinas prepare for Hurricane Florence
Storm surge flooding also could push 2 miles or more inland if Florence lingers for days along the coast. So far, it's estimate more than 1.7 million Americans have heeded the warnings about Hurricane Florence.