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Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

15 September 2018

Colleen Roberts, public information officer for the city of about 30,000 residents, told Fox News that 200 people had been rescued so far as the Category 1 storm battered the area with strong winds and a life-threatening surge.

Utility officials say almost 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Carolinas on Friday and more were expected to lose power.

As Hurricane Storm Florence lashed through the Carolinas with howling winds and heavy rain, one reporter was captured attempting to keep it together as winds appeared to lash at him, but was mocked when two people were seen walking behind him with little difficulty.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", Cooper said.

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 3.4 metres of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 0.9 metres of rain, touching off severe flooding.

There have been seven storm-related deaths since Florence, then a Category-1 hurricane, made landfall Friday morning.

The National Hurricane Center said early Friday that a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, recently reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation. Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain by Friday night with more torrents on the way.

Four deaths were confirmed by officials as American media reported another, and the storm has wreaked havoc in the Carolinas, lashing the USA states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks. "Continued gradual weakening is forecast while Florence moves farther inland during the next couple of days, and it is likely to weaken to a tropical depression by tonight".

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.

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Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticised as slow and unprepared previous year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000.

Satellites will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Florence from space to make more accurate predictions about where it's heading next. 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.

It's about the water, not the wind, with Hurricane Florence making an extended stay along the North Carolina coast.

In Wilmington, the storm tore down numerous trees when its centre tore through the area on Friday morning.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril.

Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern partly to protect their house. "We are stuck in the attic". She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.

Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith managed to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and the experience left her shaken.

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

Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina