MIAMI (AP) – The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has officially come ashore as a Category 1 storm near Wrightsville Beach about 7am. Meteorologists are closely watching where the storm will go, as it slows down.
During the early morning hours first responders had to make a number of high water rescues of those who refused to evacuate.
Meteorologists say it’s about the water, not the wind, with Hurricane Florence making an extended stay along the North Carolina coast.
Forecasters say “it cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland.” Top winds were holding at 90 mph — that’s just a Category 1 hurricane — but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water.
Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central South Carolina as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.
Florence’s center may linger for another whole day along coastal North and South Carolina — punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who’ve stayed behind.
In the besieged North Carolina city of New Bern, rescuers by midmorning Friday had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said.
“In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest,” said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home. “We are stuck in the attic.”
The National Weather Service reported wind gusts Friday morning in Columbia, about 220 miles (354 kilometers) from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m. Friday.
NEW: #Hurricane #Florence has made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7:15 AM EDT (1115 UTC) with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph (150 km/h), and a minimum central pressure estimate of 958 mb (28.29"). https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/vzpe6MjTf9
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 14, 2018
Meantime, across North Carolina residents are trying to prepare for the massive flooding.
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) September 13, 2018