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

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence off the eastern coast of the United States on Wednesday Sept. 12 2018 at 5:52 p.m. EDT

The center of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, North Carolina, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Craven County Emergency Services has reported impassible roads due to flooding; downed power lines; and trees on cars. An order that many families, like Scott's, have made a decision to ignore.

According to a report from the J.P. Morgan Chase Institute, extreme weather events like the one now battering the Carolinas and Virginia can have far-reaching effects on consumers' wallets, impacting their spending for months after the storm has cleared.

The disaster area was expected to get about as much rain in three days as the 1999 Dennis and Floyd storms dropped in two weeks.

Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina. And this is just the beginning.

The worst may come as the gargantuan storm swirls past the shore and dumps days of rain on mountainous interiors, potentially creating disastrous mudslides. We have wind and rain. But the National Hurricane Center is still warning of life-threatening storm surges, with as much as 11ft of ocean water expected to cover the Carolina coast. It is expected that the hurricane moves on or near the coastline during the night of Thursday through Friday.

Authorities main concern with Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, rather than high winds.

"This storm has been hovering over us for a while, and we expect it to continue to hover over us", she told the newspaper.

Some local shelters are ready to help take in animals left homeless by the storm, which was projected to make landfall on the Carolina coast Saturday morning.

The impact of the storm is already being felt by those caught in its path.

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.

In Morehead City, an NWS Meteorologist captured dramatic footage of rain water sweeping through a parking lot.

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. About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm. Hurricane-force winds were extending out up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 195 miles, the center said.

Coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and at least 510,000 homes and businesses were without power, almost all of them in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.

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