Hurricane Florence unleashes wrath on U.S., with worst yet to come

Emergency officials on Wrightsville Beach were able to assess the beginning impacts of Hurricane Florence before day turned to night Thursday. CoBank, an agricultural lender, estimates damage to North Carolina farming could hit $US1 billion ($1.3b) before the storm slows.

But forecasters said its extreme size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

Florence will likely weaken as it moves inland, especially on Saturday (Sept. 15) as it moves over SC, according to National Hurricane Center predictions. "I'm a little bit scared right now", she said, "but I have my iPad and I'm watching Netflix".

The National Hurricane Center says a sustained wind of 55 miles per hour (89 kph) and a gust to 68 miles per hour (109 kph) were reported in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

A member of the U.S. Army walks through floodwaters near the Union Point Park Complex as Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 13, 2018.

"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said.

A weather station in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, registered 12.7 inches (32.3 centimeters) of rain over a 24-hour period, according to a CNN report.

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Cooper said Florence was expected to cover nearly all of North Carolina in several feet of water. On Twitter he said "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico".

In the coming days, Florence's path and pace may cause it to send storm bands back over areas already hammered by heavy rain - what's known as training - dumping even more water and making conditions even more hazardous for both residents and rescuers. As the storm moves into hilly terrain, it's also expected to unleash catastrophic and potentially deadly flash flooding and possibly mud slides, the hurricane center warned.

With graphics depicting an intersection on a street in the American state of North Carolina, the forecaster explains what is likely to happen as the water engulfs the state's coastline amid sound effects of wind, rain and rushing water.

Meanwhile more than 630,000 homes and businesses were left without power by Friday afternoon. It shows the depth of water in a Belhaven family's garage. "I'm going to get killed on the road, '" Bradley said. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

Florence had been downgraded to a Category One hurricane before landfall, and is forecast to significantly weaken as it moves across central South Carolina Saturday. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend. "People who live in New Bern have experienced hurricanes before, but it has been a long time since we have experienced something like this".

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