Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence claimed the lives of four people after reaching the southeast US coast on Friday, and has left hundreds of thousands without power as it lingers over the Carolinas. A gust of 170kph was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.

"A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house", police tweeted Friday afternoon.

The father was also home, and he was taken to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm will eventually push westward and make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic region and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week. Dozens of people were rescued from a collapsing hotel in North Carolina.

High winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence hits Swansboro in North Carolina on September 14, 2018.

Some locations along the Carolina coast have reported 13-18 inches of rainfall from Florence, which is moving at about 6 miles per hour. "I see the beach communities' being inundated with water and destruction that will be pretty, pretty epic".

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm. That number was down to 40 later in the day. As of 8 a.m. on Saturday the system was located about 35 miles west of Myrtle Beach, S.C. and was about 45 miles south-southeast of Florence, S.C.

Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere near an end.

It is expected to move across parts of southeastern 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.

Hundreds of thousands were without power in the Carolinas late Friday. "You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland", the center's director, Ken Graham, said.

Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as one metre of rain.

A downed tree blocks a street in Wilmington after being uprooted by Florence's strong winds. "The longer you have this hurricane wind flow, the longer you push that water well inland", he said. Expert scientists, however, had said they were anxious about Brunswick because of scant public information about its readiness. Six sheriff's officers came to his house to rescue him Friday morning, but he didn't need to leave since the water was dropping by then.

National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted Florence would drop up to eight months' worth of rain in two or three days.

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people.

"If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list".

"[It's] very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and fears splintering trees will pummel her house.

"It was pretty bad". Flooding from rain and rising rivers also was reported in New Bern. Ballance called the rainfall "biblical", saying he's gotten reports from friends that his downtown seafood restaurant was flooded, just like the rest of the downtown.

As of Friday, the casino had reserved over 600 room nights for storm victims; another 200 families were expected to arrive on Sunday.

  • Joey Payne