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Near 440,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

Near 440,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, ripping apart buildings and knocking out power to a half-million homes and businesses as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.

The storm trapped hundreds of people in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.

Government weather satellites captured this image of Hurricane Florence shortly after its landfall September 14, 2018.

At the time, the storm carried winds of about 90 miles per hour (145 km/h), making it a Category 1 storm, but that ranking belies the hurricane's massive clouds and the downpour it is visiting on the coastline, with some areas already drenched in 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain.

As it moves inland, the storm is expected to bring its high winds and intense rain bands across the southeastern corner of North Carolina and a large chunk of SC.

At 5pm, Florence was centred about 75 kilometres west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 45 kilometres northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel at the height of the storm.

'Monster' Hurricane Florence to pummel U.S. Southeast for days
AccuWeather Vice President of Forecasting and Graphics Operations Marshall Moss said: "There's never been a storm like Florence". And the storm surge, which could be as much as 12 feet in some areas, will be on top of sea level rise from climate change.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m.

Journalist Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) tweeted: "This @weatherchannel visualization of storm surge is an fantastic and sobering use of technology to show what hurricanes like Florence can do". Roberts says the storm surge continues to increase as Florence passes over the area.

Residents at Trent Court Apartments wait out the weather as rising waters get closer to their doors.

The city warns that people "may need to move up to the second story" but tells them to stay put as "we are coming to get you".

"Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see". Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of environmental havoc from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than one million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

While many sought shelter - about 26,000 people took refuge in 100 shelters and at the 14,000-seat Joel Colisseum in Winston-Salem - others ignored warnings or headed to nearby hotels.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said. On the forecast track, the centre of the storm is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday.