Hurricane ‘Florence’ rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

Hurricane Florence from above: Startling images of the huge storm from the International Space Station

Rain, wind and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas early on Friday as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people with record rainfall and punishing surf.

Cline said July was the wettest ever in that part of North Carolina, and the water table rose 21 inches higher than normal.

City officials sent out an dramatic tweet about 2am Friday as rivers swelled, tides crested and the rain wouldn't stop, and people found themselves trapped in their homes as the water rose. And others could only hope someone would come for them. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water". "We've got some roof issues, parts of roof are coming off and we've got some fences coming down".

The river swamped the town after Hurricane Matthew came through two years ago: One church parishioner drowned during that storm, more than 700 families were displaced from their homes, and two of the city's largest public housing projects were destroyed, Foreman said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water. Cooper cited a National Weather Service forecast that said almost the entire state could be covered in several feet of water.

"Florence is an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told NPR's Morning Edition.

Five deaths - a woman in Pender County, a mother and child in Wilmington and two people in Lenoir County - have been blamed on the storm.

About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

Some areas of North Myrtle Beach saw flash flooding Friday afternoon with standing water reaching knee-high. "We're out of power, so we spent the first few hours of the day playing board games with candles". Storm surge could be up to 13 feet, pushing seawater as much as 2 miles inland. "I was born and raised here and been through every storm the last 30 years, but this one seems to be doing more damage than we expected".

Whether residents left their homes, sought refuge in a shelter or are hunkering down, the weather service has bad news: After creeping inland, Florence "is expected to slow down even more today and tonight".

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

A building is seen through heavy rain from Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018.

As of 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to 75 miles per hour (120 kph) but the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Carolina residents to be alert for life-threatening storm surges and "catastrophic freshwater flooding". 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.

"I've been through hurricanes before", he says.

More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival.

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