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Hurricane Florence Hits Near Wrightsville Beach
15 September 2018, 08:17 | Myron Mathis
Hurricane Florence Drowned a Riverfront 30 Miles from the North Carolina Coast (Video)
The powerful Category 1 storm is making its way south along the Carolina coast hours after making technical landfall early Friday morning.
Two people died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city's police department said.
Roy Cooper said another person was killed in Lenoir County, reports WTVD.
The hurricane has caused more than 555,000 power outages in North Carolina, with almost 65,000 reported in SC, according to website poweroutage.us.
Winds here are still expected to reach a maximum sustained speed of 60 to 70 miles per hour, with peaks reaching in the upper 80s in some Grand Strand regions.
Hurricane Florence began lashing the coast Thursday morning, sending pounding waves ashore and rising storm surge.
The National Hurricane Center said the area should also expect "life-threatening" storm surges, hurricane-strength wind gusts and "catastrophic" fresh water flooding as Hurricane Florence slowly churns inland.
Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.
As the giant, 400-mile-wide hurricane pounded away, it unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.
The National Hurricane Center says the eyewall of Hurricane Florence is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast.
That kind of scenario is likely to repeat itself all over communities in Eastern North Carolina, as swollen rivers flood towns and the pouring rain adds to the misery. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the authorities in New Bern said on Twitter. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says more than 16 inches of rain have fallen at locations in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way.
That deluge will lead to "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged, significant river flooding", according to the NHC.
In Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down, trees and power lines were down and many windows had been broken.
The group, which included an infant, children and pets, have been taken to the Jacksonville Center for Public Safety after portions of the roof collapsed. Nationwide, airlines cancelled more than 2,400 flights through Sunday.
Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and that restoring it could take weeks.
"(Its) very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and fears splintering trees will pummel her house. The highest numbers are being reported in New Hanover County.
Both rivers overflowed their banks, flooding homes, stores and streets and trapping many people in their houses.
About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.
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On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars. According to CNN , the hurricane hit the east coast of the USA with 90-mph winds and relentless rain.
Wind And Rain From Florence’s Leading Edge Lash Carolinas
In some counties, almost 1 in 3 people live below the poverty line. "This is low tide, and it looks like high tide", she said. Before, the National Hurricane Center feared that Florence would make landfall as a Category 4 storm. "Stay on guard.