Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence Drowned a Riverfront 30 Miles from the North Carolina Coast

Hurricane Florence Drowned a Riverfront 30 Miles from the North Carolina Coast

Through Friday, the storm stalled, dumping historic rains that weather officials said would ultimately be up to 30 to 40 inches in some places.

The hurricane has moved at only 3-6 miles per hour on Friday, increasing the effect of its torrential rains.

Hurricane-force winds extended 70 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds reached out 195 miles.

More than 60 people, including an infant, children and their pets, were rescued from a collapsing hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at the height of the storm, according to WITN-TV.

Along the coast, floodwaters have been hitting inland towns near rivers that normally discharge into the ocean. Flash floods can materialize within minutes of intense rain as the water rushes down hillsides.

"Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm", Cooper said in a statement. At 5:30 a.m. a reporter in a downtown hotel here in Wilmington heard the signature hurricane sound - a low, heavy humming combined with an nearly musical high note.

"The sun rose this morning on an extremely unsafe situation and it's getting worse", Cooper said, calling Florence a "thousand-year rain event".

"From Wilmington to Charlotte, we'll experience between a 500-year and 1,000-year flood event", Trogdon warned in a late-morning briefing.

Volunteers from the Civilian Crisis Response Team help people to higher ground after rescuing them from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence in James City, North Carolina.

The No. 1 mission right now, Cooper said, is to save lives.

He added that 20,000 people were being housed in shelters across the state.

The hurricane made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at about 7:17 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane came ashore early on Friday, pounding the state with torrential rain and high winds. However, instead of rainfall spread over 14 days, Florence will dump it all in three days. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

"You evacuate from water", Cline said. "There is probably not a county or a person that will not be affected in some way by this very massive and violent storm". He said parts of the state had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.

Officials have warned against entering attics, unless people have a means to cut through to the roof to avoid drowning.

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

Florence was a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds on Thursday.

"Florence is here to stay for awhile", McMaster said from Columbia Friday afternoon.

Rainfall also is swelling waterways: Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that 34 million people in the USA are forecast to get at least 3 inches of rain from Hurricane Florence, with more than 5.7 million people probably getting at least a foot of rain. As of Friday afternoon, the storm was moving across southeastern North Carolina at 3 miles per hour.

Forecasters say the biggest danger is the water as the storm surge along the coastline and the prospect of one to three-and-a-half feet of rain over the coming days could trigger catastrophic flooding inland. They then did the forecast again using conditions that would have been expected in a climate unchanged by human activity, meaning greenhouse gases, aerosols and other atmospheric metrics were all set to "pre-industrial levels", or those found more than 150 years ago. States of emergency have already been declared in both North and SC.

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