Near 440,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

If you're anxious about flooding away from the coast, then the Southeast River Forecast Center is your go-to stop.

"Hurricanes normally come in and they go inland, which sucks the power out of them as they go over the land", he said.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

It added the greatest threats to life came from storm-surges while "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding" was expected, with some areas receiving up to 40 inches of rainfall.

The storm has sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour, and a total of 40 inches of rain could fall over the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The category one storm has widened and slowed, with life-threatening storm surges still expected. Florence is a large hurricane.

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

Cooper said the hurricane was "wreaking havoc" on the coast and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days".

The Weather Channel produced a terrifying Hurricane Florence weather forecast using a visualization to show the horrifying reality of what 9-foot flood waters might look like in North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence came ashore near the town of Wrightsville Beach, almost 10 kilometers east of the city of Wilmington, with maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour and higher gusts.

It was expected to begin pushing its way westward across SC later in the day, in a watery siege that could go on all weekend. Another 8 million people live in areas covered by hurricane and tropical storm warnings. Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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Rescue workers in North Carolina meanwhile were scrambling to save people stranded in their homes.

Coastal streets were inundated with ocean water, causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses, officials said. Roof shingles were peeled off a hotel.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 story late Thursday, and now contains maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.

The outer bands of Hurricane Florence began battering the coast of North and South Carolina Thursday with strong winds and rain.

The downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was underwater and around 150 people were waiting to be rescued, city authorities said on Twitter.

According to radar images as of 7 a.m., the storm's eye was drawing near the New Hanover-Pender County line.

"I hope we don't but that might be the only thing that would affect us", James said.

Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the electricity went out. "We are totally prepared", Trump said at the White House.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than one million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

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