Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

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

WITN is reporting two people were killed in Lenoir County.

Hurricane Florence pummeled North Carolina, making landfall Friday morning with storm surges and wind gusts before contributing to at least five deaths.

Some of the worst flooding was in New Bern, North Carolina, a town of about 30,000 people at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers.

In Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down, trees and power lines were down and many windows had been broken.

"We have completed all of our water rescues & want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who helped us save lives".

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the hurricane was "wreaking havoc" on the U.S. East Coast and will make its "violent grind across our state for days".

The entire state of SC is set to get washed with rain, flooding homes that were flooded during the historic 1,000-year flood in 2015, state officials said on Friday.

Tragedy struck one family when a tree fell on a house; a mother and child were killed.

Griffin said she was jolted awake when the power went off at the hotel as some of the storm's strongest bands lashed Wilmington with wind and rain.

Florence's eyewall reached shore near Wilmington, N.C., just before 6 a.m. ET Friday; more than an hour later, the National Hurricane Center announced, it had "finally" made landfall near Wrightsville Beach. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75 miles per hour, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week. "I'm not sure if it's a shift in the wind or low tide - but the water has miraculously disappeared".

Almost 300,000 customers in North Carolina were meanwhile reported to be without power as the outer band of the storm approached. Other communities got well over a foot.

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By 2 p.m. Saturday, the storm won't even be halfway across SC, forecasters say. Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland in the Carolinas over the next few days.

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

Florence was seen as a major test for FEMA, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared a year ago for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the storm was blamed for almost 3,000 deaths in the desperate months that followed.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

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

The hurricane has torn buildings apart and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse. But with a storm surge putting pressure on water to head back inland and heavy rains swelling those rivers, widespread flooding is the result.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", tweeted the city of New Bern.

"We are stuck in the attic", Perry said.

Federal officials are urging anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.

"We're working as hard as we can", Hodges says. "We've had it reported to where it's over mailboxes, to the stairs of homes, even at first, second floors to where people are having to get on their roofs".

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