Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina, with plenty of destruction and suffering ahead

Despite being downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, Florence's storm surge is expected to be 10-feet high.

Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, but its crawling pace and overwhelming storm surges are setting up hours and hours of destruction and human suffering -- with dozens desperately awaiting rescue in one flooded city alone.

Posted: Sep 14, 2018 9:12 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2018 9:14 AM

(CNN) -- Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, but its crawling pace and overwhelming storm surges are setting up hours and hours of destruction and human suffering -- with dozens desperately awaiting rescue in one flooded city alone.

The Category 1 hurricane, with wind of more than 90 mph and dumping 3 inches of rain an hour, made landfall at 7:15 a.m. ET near Wrightsville Beach, just east of Wilmington.

Florence's center may linger for another whole day along coastal North and South Carolina -- punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who've stayed behind.

In the besieged North Carolina city of New Bern, rescuers by midmorning Friday had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said.

"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. "We are stuck in the attic."

Officials urged residents there to take shelter at the highest points of their homes, including rooftops.

Florence's rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolinas, and gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods, forecasters said.

By Friday morning, Florence already had:

• Sapped power to more than 384,000 customers in North and South Carolina, emergency officials said.

• Pushed in a storm surge of 10 feet above normal levels in Morehead City, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said.

Forced more than 60 people to evacuate a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after part of the roof collapsed, city officials said.

Canceled more than 1,300 flights along the East Coast through Friday.

FOLLOW THE HURRICANE'S PATH

Hours earlier, streets along the coast had been transformed into raging streams, and massive waves surged along the Outer Banks.

"There's already water (in the) bottom part of people's houses," Todd Willis, who lives in Kennel Beach, North Carolina, said Thursday night. "This is just the beginning."

Latest developments

• Prolonged, dangerous winds: Hurricane-force winds extend 80 miles from Florence's center. The storm is expected to crawl into far southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina through Saturday, punishing the area over and over with rain and damaging winds.

• Flooding for miles: Up to 40 inches of rain, and storm surges pushing water inland and not allowing rivers to drain, will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding," the National Hurricane Center says. "You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland," the center's director, Ken Graham, said Friday morning.

• Areas threatened: Hurricane and storm surge warnings are in effect for South Santee River in South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

• Location of Florence: By 8 a.m. Friday, the hurricane was about 10 miles south of Wilmington and was crawling at 6 mph with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.

Record gusts: Wilmington's airport recorded a 92-mph wind gust Friday morning -- the fastest measured since Hurricane Donna hit the city in 1960, the NHC said.

• Thanks from Trump: President Trump tweeted his thanks to first responders Friday morning. "Incredible job being done by FEMA, First Responders, Law Enforcement and all. Thank you!" he tweeted.

Rescues and narrow escapes

More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate before the streets became inundated.

Florence's circulation was pushing water ashore, especially north of its eye, in coastal or riverside towns like New Bern and Belhaven, turning land to lakes.

In Belhaven, the Pungo River roared into town, crashing up against homes at a waist-high level and higher late Thursday and early Friday, video from Amy Johnson showed.

Morehead City resident Rebecca Marson decided not to evacuate because her surgeon husband wanted to remain behind with other first responders. They're riding out the storm at their home with four children -- ages 11 to 17 -- Marson's friend, four dogs, two chinchillas, a cat and a lizard.

Marson said they'd lost power and the winds were howling outside, but they had enough food and water to last them for days.

New Bern's WCTI television employees fled their studio Thursday night due to rising flood waters. Footage posted on social media showed a meteorologist saying on air that they had to evacuate. He then leaves the studio and leaves a radar of Florence's rain bands playing on a loop.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, city officials posted photos of toppled gas pumps and a downed trees early Friday, warning residents to take shelter and avoid roadways.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

Sign up for Hurricane Florence alerts

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Terre Haute
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 76°
Robinson
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 79°
Rockville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 70°
Casey
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 76°
Brazil
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 76°
Marshall
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 76°
Sunny and warm!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 155048

Reported Deaths: 7388
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook955574725
Lake10378428
DuPage9719486
Kane8107281
Will7278326
Winnebago3169106
St. Clair2304144
McHenry2266102
Kankakee143166
Madison119870
Rock Island119430
Unassigned1185201
Kendall106323
Champaign104017
Peoria66630
DeKalb64220
Boone63721
Sangamon53133
Jackson35619
McLean32215
Randolph3157
Ogle3144
Stephenson2856
LaSalle25917
Macon25322
Clinton24616
Union21219
Whiteside21215
Grundy1945
Coles19117
Iroquois1755
Tazewell1758
Knox1700
Adams1691
Williamson1614
Monroe15913
Warren1490
Cass1409
Morgan1344
Henry1161
Jefferson11417
McDonough10815
Lee1072
Vermilion892
Pulaski840
Marion770
Montgomery741
Macoupin693
Douglas610
Perry611
Jo Daviess551
Livingston552
Christian514
Woodford482
Jasper477
Franklin460
Jersey431
Ford421
Clark410
Bureau372
Menard320
Effingham311
Cumberland290
Mercer290
Johnson260
Alexander250
Washington250
Fayette243
Mason240
Moultrie240
Wabash230
Bond222
Carroll212
Hancock211
Logan210
Piatt210
Crawford200
Shelby201
Edgar190
Wayne191
De Witt180
Saline170
Fulton160
Massac160
Schuyler130
Lawrence120
Marshall120
Brown100
White100
Greene90
Richland90
Henderson80
Hamilton70
Pike70
Gallatin60
Stark60
Clay50
Edwards50
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 51612

Reported Deaths: 2760
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12074693
Lake5650249
Elkhart361860
Allen2952134
St. Joseph214869
Hamilton1708101
Cass16459
Hendricks1466100
Johnson1345118
Porter84038
Tippecanoe7799
Vanderburgh7686
Clark71144
Madison67864
LaPorte62328
Howard60758
Bartholomew60145
Kosciusko5824
Marshall5579
Noble52028
Boone49144
LaGrange48610
Jackson4783
Delaware47552
Hancock46836
Shelby45925
Floyd41444
Monroe34828
Morgan34531
Grant32226
Dubois3096
Montgomery29820
Henry29618
Clinton2903
White27610
Dearborn26523
Warrick26129
Vigo2588
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Harrison21822
Greene19632
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1586
Daviess15117
Perry14910
Steuben1382
Orange13723
Jasper1362
Ripley1347
Franklin1288
Gibson1242
Wabash1163
Carroll1142
Starke1083
Whitley1076
Fayette1067
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells821
Randolph804
Fulton731
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush623
Posey610
Spencer571
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193