Four killed as Hurricane Florence swamps Carolinas

Hurricane Florence from space

Hurricane Florence from space

A tree sways in the storm as Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Wilmington, North Carolina, the United States, on September 13, 2018. "I stayed here. I'd been through so many hurricanes", said Balance, who added that six sheriff's officers came to his house to rescue him Friday morning, but he didn't need to leave since the tides and river were receding. We know how to manage expectations. "But I think we're ready".

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which dropped way down from a terrifying 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.

The NHC said hurricane-force winds extended outward 80 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 195 miles out.

Hurricane Florence is dumping rain on North Carolina and pushing a storm surge taller than most humans onto communities near the coast. "We're going to have to have patience, we're going to have to be careful and we're going to have to deal with a lot of water".

Record water levels occurred at Wrightsville Beach, said NOAA's Ocean Service, which reported the ocean "reached reached 4.11 ft above high tide, breaking a record set by Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 by more than a foot".

Antonio Ramirez, a construction worker from El Salvador living in Leland, North Carolina, said he planned to ride out the worst of the weather with his dog Canelo.

The Hurricane Center is predicting "catastrophic" flooding in the Carolinas.

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

"We have people trapped by the storm surge and flooding waters getting to the steps of their house", Parker says. "Little rough but we're all out", a tweet said.

Forecasters project Florence to turn toward SC before lumbering across the border of the Carolinas.

"Cameras outside the International Space Station captured views of Hurricane Florence on September 14 at 7:41 a.m. EDT minutes after the storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina packing winds of 90 miles an hour", NASA said in a video description.

Cooper told ABC News' David Muir that residents should continue to shelter in place, even though Florence is no longer a hurricane, because roads are covered in debris and water, and rescues are still taking place in coastal areas. The Philippines placed the main Luzon island under storm alert and said as many as 824,000 Filipinos may have to be evacuated before the storm hits land in the northern province of Cagayan overnight.

There is really nowhere for the water to go.

The Weather Service forecast the Lumber to reach major flood stage Saturday and to keep rising through Sunday. "There is probably not a county or a person that will not be affected in some way by this very massive and violent storm".

"There's a great temptation to want to go back east and to view you property", he said.

Officials have warned against entering attics, unless people have a means to cut through to the roof to avoid drowning.

The storm made landfall at Wrightsville Beach at 7:15 a.m., with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said.

Forecasters say Florence is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and SC with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding.

They have made clear that this event is all about the water - which the storm has delivered in devastating quantity.

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