Hurricane Florence rolls ashore in Carolinas, tears buildings apart

More than 485,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said.

The storm surge that has hit New Bern is about 2 feet higher now than it was during Hurricane Irene seven years ago, according to the National Weather Service.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", she said.

A simulation of Florence for Saturday as the storm tracks over SC.

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS), developed in 1971 by a civil engineer and a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center (NHC), relies on putting hurricanes in various categories - 1 to 5 - based on wind speed.

This landfall has been a long time coming: The hurricane arrived more than two weeks after the National Hurricane Center issued its first advisory for the storm.

Southwest Virginia, West Virginia, the Ohio River Valley, and western and central Pennsylvania all have a chance of rain from Florence's remnants on Monday and Tuesday that could lead to flash flooding, depending on where the heaviest rainfall rates develop.

The U.S. military says a massive relief effort is ready to sweep into affected areas to deliver food and water, conduct search and rescue missions, as well as provide medical care and restore power.

Hurricane Florence Rocks Wooden Pier in Nags Head
People are seen inside a shelter run by Red Cross before Hurricane Florence comes ashore in Grantsboro, N.C., September 13, 2018. Police patrol past boarded up shops along the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina ahead of Hurricane Florence's arrival.

The hurricane center predicts as much as 101 centimeters of rain for some parts of North Carolina and storm surges as high as 4 meters - taller than many houses. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

The effects of Hurricane Florence can already be felt along the coast of North Carolina as of 12 p.m. on September 13. The center of the storm is expected to maintain a westward track across southeastern North Carolina Friday and across eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday.

Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

Hurricane Florence has just about reached the cost of the Carolinas, set to bring heavy rain and damaging winds to the area tomorrow and through the weekend.

New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones.

So far, a state of emergency has been declared in five states - South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland and Washington DC.

Winds and rain were arriving later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded. Almost 14 million people are under a flash flood watch, meaning water levels could rise swiftly at any moment.

Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington. A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina.

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