'Dead Calm': Jeff Flock Assesses Damage as Eye of Hurricane Florence Passes

Hurricane Florence's onslaught threatens disaster in North Carolina

At least four people were killed.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.

As 400-mile-wide Florence pounded away at the coast with torrential downpours and surging seas, rescue crews used boats to reach scores of people besieged by rising waters along a river.

More than 60 people had to be rescued in another town as a cinderblock motel collapsed at the height of the storm's fury.

More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. More are on the way to help us.

But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Governor Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

"This is an uninvited brute that just won't leave", Cooper said on "Today".

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.

A mother and child died in Wilmington when a tree fell on their home, police tweeted. News stations and citizens captured footage of the waters pouring down streets and invading homes. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles north of Wilmington.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line. It blew ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

The storm officially made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7:15 am (1115 GMT), the National Hurricane Center said.

But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.

Heavy rainfall could leave nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water, it's feared.

In all, the weather service says the greatest amounts of rain from Florence are likely in the southwestern portions of the region.

The National looks at the science behind Hurricane Florence and why it's being called a once-in-a-generation storm.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a dayslong deluge.

"The combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline", the hurricane center advisory said.

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

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

TRINIS living in the United States were vigorously preparing themselves for Hurricane Florence which is forecast to make landfall along the eastern coast sometime today. Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said.

After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches.

On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.

The NWS reported "lots of tree damage, debris and power lines down" across Harkers Island, N.C.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

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

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

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.

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