Hurricane Florence has made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, east of Wilmington, North Carolina at 7:15 a.m. reported CNN.
Down to a Category 1 storm, Florence will now move at a snail’s pace down the Carolina coast with the eye of the storm potentially remaining in the region potentially all the way through Saturday causing large floods.
There are already people awaiting rescue because of the storm with dozens of people waiting on the higher ground to be rescued near Wilmington. Rain levels have been dramatic, with three inches of rain falling in just one hour near the center of the storm.
New Bern appears to have been the most hard-hit community in the region, with over 350 people needing rescue in the town, over 200 of those successfully rescued. Officials in the town said that storm surges have already reached 10 feet and will only get higher from here. The officials warned the residents that are remaining in the area to seek shelter at the highest part of their homes, leading many to head to the roof.
The region has not seen rain like this since the 1999 arrivals of hurricane Dennis and Floyd, with Florence, projected to drop 40 inches of rain in parts of the Carolinas. In 1999 those two hurricanes dropped those levels of rain in two weeks, said the National Weather Service’s Chris Wamsley who added: “we’re looking at the same amount of rainfall in three days.”
FEMA warned that for those that did not evacuate should stay where they are and not evacuate now, saying that the time to leave has gone. The rain and storm surges are forecast to continue for up to two more days.
Already over 500,000 people are without power in the Carolinas with 26,000 people crammed into 200 evacuation shelters. The most dramatic effect of the storm hitting happened in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where part of the roof of a hotel collapsed causing 60 people, some of whom had evacuated their homes, to evacuate the hotel.
One of the biggest problems with Florence is how big it is, as the Inquisitr previously reported, the storm is bringing hurricane force winds as far as 80 miles away from its eye, that means that being inland will not necessarily be enough as the sheer amount of rain will make rivers flood, causing storm surges well inland in both states. That rain will continue falling for several days with Florence’s movement down to just 6 mph.