Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

National Hurricane Center

Some minor flooding was reported on the Outer Banks - barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina - and in some seaside coastal towns, as more than 110,000 power outages were reported statewide.

Florence crashed ashore Friday morning in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, and it has wiped out power to about 964,000 customers in that state and SC.

According to reports the cyclone has finally arrived on Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

It had estimated maximum wind speeds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h), putting it just under the threshold of a "major" hurricane.

Hurricane Florence became a deadly storm Friday, claiming three lives in Hampstead and Wilmington as it roared into, and stalled over, the Wilmington region.

Florence's rain will be relentless, with up to 40 inches expected in some parts of the Carolina coasts, forecasters said.

Ominous warning: "Don't focus on the category of the storm".

The hurricane center said the storm will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a sharp rightward swing to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week. Its forward movement was 6 miles per hour.

Holly Waters, a retired special education teacher from Wilmington, said she was happy to have a place to go to relax before the storm worsened.

More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel.

"We've got nearly 20,000 people in 157 shelters", Cooper said.

"A basketball sized hole was found in a corner room by an Officer", officials said.

None of the people rescued were injured.

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Florence's center may linger for another whole day along the Carolinas' coast - punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who've stayed behind. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said.

NEW BERN, North Carolina - Emergency workers went door to door urging people to flee Florence's rising waters and used inflatable boats to rescue others as the storm practically parked itself over land and poured on the rain Saturday, raising fears that North Carolina could be in for the most disastrous flooding in its history.

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people.

"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding".

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

Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia, could be in for heavy rains as Florence plods inland.

More than 360 people had been rescued in the coastal city of New Bern, North Carolina, by Friday evening, and another 140 were in need of help, a city spokeswoman said.

The storm's arrival brought a 105 miles per hour wind gust at the NWS office about 7 a.m. Friday, said meteorologist Jordan Baker. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington.

Water was rising Saturday morning in a flood plain near the Waccamaw River, lapping up against homes and pooling over at least one main road.

Downgraded but risky: Though now a Category 1 storm, hurricane-force winds extend 80 miles from Florence's center, and it will linger for days, with prolonged winds and rain making it more unsafe.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds across the state.

More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they're seeing the floodwaters rise".

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding.

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