Hurricane Florence Hits Near Wrightsville Beach

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The company said as many as three-fourths of its 4 million customers in North Carolina and SC could lose power.

Hurricane Florence remains a significant storm surge and flash flood event, according to the latest public advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", she said.

According to CNN, the hurricane hit the east coast of the U.S. with 90-mph winds and relentless rain.

News10NBC will continue to track this storm, be sure to download the News10NBC Weather App to get notifications sent right to your phone.

"AccuWeather estimates that Hurricane Florence will cause $30-60 billion in economic impact and damage", Myers said.

But the hurricane had slowed to a crawl as it traced the North Carolina-South Carolina shoreline, drenching coastal communities for hours on end.

"I'm not going to put our personnel in harm's way, especially for people that we've already told to evacuate", Wrightsville Beach Police Chief Dan House said.

Experts are warning people that the most serious threat posed by Florence might just be the massive amount of water it is expected to leave in its wake, from the storm surge that could exceed 13 feet in some areas to a deluge of rainfall that may hit 40 inches in certain pockets. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

Wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, the hurricane center said.

Florence, which is now a slow-moving Category 2 storm, is expected to linger over the Carolinas before turning north and sliding into western Virginia.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing in the Neuse River just outside his house in the town of New Bern, hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

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 (25 centimeters).

"Heavy rain has been occurring in and around Oriental, North Carolina, where 20.37 inches of rainfall has been measured thus far", the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.

Hurricane Florence wasn't expected to make landfall until later Friday morning, but residents in coastal areas were already losing power as fierce gusts lashed the eastern edge of North Carolina. Through Sunday evening, more than 20 inches of rain could fall in southeast North Carolina and far northeast SC on top of what has already fallen.

Authorities in New Bern said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater.

More than 12,000 were in shelters in North Carolina.

Officials have assured them they will be rescued by FEMA teams who are ready to do swift water rescue.

More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.

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