More than 300,000 without power as Hurricane Florence batters North Carolina

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night. "We can not underestimate this storm".

Fox Business Network correspondent Jeff Flock reported live from the eye of Hurricane Florence in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

"If this thing comes inland and stops in eastern North Carolina like they forecast it, and we get two days of continuous rain, the rain will be our biggest damage", he said.

The storm's centre was about 180km east of Wilmington, North Carolina, at 2pm local time (18:00 GMT) but tropical storm-strength winds and heavy rains already were hitting North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina bringing with it life-threatening storm surges and hurricane force winds.

And now, many more people, houses and buildings are set to endure hurricane-force winds, which extend 80 miles out from Florence's center.

"The storm's worst scenes so far - still an hour or two before landfall - have emerged in the besieged town of New Bern, where about 150 people called for help overnight", the report quoted city officials as saying.

An officer inspecting the Triangle Motor Inn found a "basketball-sized hole" in a corner room and firefighters said the building had suffered life-threatening structural damage.

None of the people rescued were injured.

After all that, what is left of Florence will turn north towards Rochester. Officials said at least 150 people were "awaiting rescue" early Friday morning as the unsafe.

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"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home, according to CNN.

The storm surge had decreased to about 8 feet later Friday morning, Roberts said, but that was mostly attributed to changes in the Neuse River's tide.

Some 11,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina.

Coastal streets flowed with frothy ocean water, and at least 490,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

The result: prolonged storm surge, wind and rain.

A fire district Facebook post said, "The eye of the hurricane is predicted to come ashore just a few miles south of their location".

Fayetteville will see winds up to 60 miles per hour.

"Because of the slow movement of the storm, the rain is going to have plenty of time keep piling up", said Feltgen. WTOP's Steve Dresner, who is in Morehead City, North Carolina, described the scene just after 10 p.m. Thursday: "I'm looking out a fourth floor balcony back to the center of Morehead City, and the lights are out".

Screaming winds bent trees and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday.

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