Hurricane Florence slams into North Carolina, rescuers save hundreds from ‘life-threatening storm surges’

Michael Bastasch, DCNF

  • Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina Friday morning.
  • The Category 1 hurricane brought 90-mile-per-hour winds, heavy rain and storm surge.
  • Rescuers have saved hundreds trapped by the storm and nearly half a million people are without electricity.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning in North Carolina, bringing with it heavy rainfall, hurricane-force winds and life-threatening storm surge that’s flooded coastal towns.

Florence touched down at Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, at 7:15 am. The Category 1 storm’s eye wall brought 90-mile-per-hour winds to Wrightsville, but not before the beach town was inundated with ocean water.

The hurricane’s impacts are being felt across the southeastern U.S., including South Carolina and as far north as Virginia. Florence is expected to continue southwest before turning northwest on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts.

Despite the storm only being Category 1, NHC warned that “life-threatening storm surges and hurricane-force winds” will continue. The Center also said “catastrophic freshwater flooding expected over portions of North and South Carolina.”

As Florence made landfall, high winds kicked up at Wrightsville Beach. The town and nearby areas were hit with storm surge that flooded streets and homes.

As Florence’s eye wall passed over Wrightsville Beach, residents and reporters were able to capture the eerie quiet before the storm picked up again.

In the town of New Bern, the Neuse River overflowed. Storm surge inundated the North Carolina coastal town, contributing to flooding.

Storm surge brought debris about 800 yards from the Neuse’s banks, according to MSNBC contributor Garrett Haake. A local man said he saw a dumpster floating in the streets Thursday night

Rescuers were working to save at least 150 trapped in flooding from storm surge in New Bern. Emergency crews already pulled out 200 people trapped by the storm, according to Fox 46 Charlotte.

Wilmington also saw high winds, torrential rainfall and storm surge. ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee reported there were “signs flying across the roads here and the deck we are standing on, boards have started ripping up.”

Electric transformers across the city blew out, plunging residents into darkness. More than 450,000 residents across the Carolinas have lost power, according to reports.

Residents as far north as Virginia Beach, Virginia experienced elevated winds from Florence.

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