Hurricane Florence Pummels NC Coast With Heavy Surf, Storm Surge

Tropical-Weather-1-7

Tropical-Weather-1-7

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm on the southern East Coast early Friday morning, bringing with it unrelenting 90 miles per hour winds, a massive storm surge, and heavy rains that will continue to soak the Carolinas for days to come.

In Jacksonville, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the cinderblock structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

Others were at home hoping for the best. The town's public information officer, Colleen Roberts, told CNN 150 more people were awaiting rescue.

We wrote up the story, laughed about it, and moved on. The 400-mile-wide hurricane has unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina and far northeastern SC are expected to get pelted with 20 to 30 inches of rain, and some isolated spots may get up to 40 inches in 48 hours.

Winds have dropped to about 144km/h but North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the worst of the storm was yet to come.

As Hurricane Florence crashed onto the Carolinas, federal emergency teams prepared themselves to work on a long process of rebuilding the storm-battered landscape it would leave behind.

"These are folks who made a decision to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.

After appearing headed toward the North Carolina-Virginia border at one point, Florence shifted south and is now taking aim at the Carolinas. Wilmington is expected to get battered before the storm drifts south.

Five deaths in North Carolina have been linked to Hurricane Florence Friday, including a mother and baby who died in Wilmington.

And while Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon, meteorologists predict heavy rain - up to 2 feet of rain when all is said and done - will continue into the weekend.

Authorities say at least 20,000 people have evacuated their homes and are sought refuge in shelters throughout North Carolina.

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

"Don't relax. Don't get complacent", he'd said Thursday morning.

Atlantic Beach was receiving winds of roughly 65-75 miles per hour as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a Fox News report.

Near the beach in Wilmington, a Waffle House restaurant, part of a chain with a reputation for staying open during disasters, had no plan to close even if power was lost, and there were lines to get in on Thursday evening.

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.

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