Hurricane Florence has made landfall over North Carolina, bringing winds up to 80 mph, 'life-threatening' storm surge, and lots of rain. 'Catastrophic' flooding is expected across the Carolinas Friday and Saturday. A mother and baby were killed by a tree.
- Hurricane Florence's center made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7:15 a.m. on Friday.
- The storm has sustained wind speeds of 75 mph, and areas of the North Carolina coast have recorded flood waters more than 6 feet deep.
- A total of 40 inches of rain could fall over the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.
- Thousands of people are in shelters while more than half a million homes are without power in the Carolinas.
- A mother and baby were killed by a tree.
Hurricane Florence is still battering the Carolinas, and the storm has killed at least two people, a mother and baby who died when a tree crashed into their home, the Wilmington Police Department said on Facebook Friday afternoon.
The storm's center made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on 7:15 a.m. ET Friday morning.
Winds up to 75 mph are still lashing the coast, and a storm surge up to 11 feet high is expected in some areas, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm could drop up to 40 inches of rain, causing "catastrophic" floods and a "life-threatening" situation, the NHC said.
So far, floods as deep as 6.3 feet and wind gusts as fast as 105 mph have been recorded.
The storm was massive when it made landfall: hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 80 miles, and tropical-storm-force winds were nearly 400 miles wide when Florence hit the shore.
Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, said Florence has been "nearly stationary on the coast for several hours" on Friday.
The storm is moving at a jogger's pace, just 5 mph, and is expected to dump rain on the Carolinas for days. Homes have flooded and trees crashed through rooftops.
In North Carolina, more than 10% of the state's customers are without power, according to the US Department of Energy. That includes more than 600,000 homes in that state, as well as over 32,000 homes in South Carolina.
"Water is going to be the most important thing here," Graham said.
But floodwaters are not the only threat. Tornado watches are also in effect for 26 North Carolina counties until 5 p.m. ET on Friday.
Footage from North Carolina shows massive flooding and high winds
These images, recorded by a camera maintained by the HurricaneTracker.com website in the riverfront town of New Bern, North Carolina, showed the dramatic progress of flooding on Thursday and Friday. The water consumed most of the Union Point river bank area by Thursday evening.
Other photos and videos shared on social media also showed dangerous conditions in North Carolina.
The National Weather Service recorded a wind gust of 105 mph in Wilmington on Friday morning. By 2 p.m. ET top windspeeds had slown to 75 mph, but that hurricane-strength windspeed is still strong enough to do a ton of damage.
Although Florence's wind speed means it is now a Category 1 hurricane, the NHC has consistently warned that the storm will not get less dangerous as the wind speed falls, since the bigger threats come from the rain and floods.
On Friday, the storm toppled roofs and trees.
Braches crashed into this home in Wilmington, North Carolina where three people were inside. One man there was critically injured and taken away on a stretcher.
The wet and windy conditions posed less of a problem for this pair of dolphins, swimming nearby.
This timelapse shows how much rain fell in just a four-hour period in the coastal city of Oriental, North Carolina.
The most extreme conditions could be seen on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and on riverfront cities which were hit hard by storm surge waters forced inland.
NBC meteorologist Bill Karins shared an image of the levels of flooding in New Bern.
A federal rain gauge in Emerald Isle, a town on a sandbank just north of Wilmington, recorded 6.6 feet of flood water.
Millions of people are affected
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper dispatched over 2,800 National Guard soldiers in that state.
"We know this massive storm will cause incredible damage" he said on Thursday. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience."
On Friday morning, rescue workers loaded boats and trucks in the North Carolina rivertown of James City, near New Bern, and started evacuating people and their pets.
For those whose homes are being flooded, the National Weather Service says to move up to higher floors in your house and take your phone and supplies. Stay away from attics and crawl spaces where you could get trapped. If the water rises too high to stay inside, get to the roof.
Governors of five states declared states of emergency ahead of the storm: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland. Mandatory evacuation orders were in place in coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, affecting a total of about 1.7 million people, according to the Associated Press. The homes of more than 10 million people were under official watches or warnings for hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
In North Carolina, more than 12,000 people fleeing the storm are staying dry at one of 126 shelters across the state.
Read more of Business Insider's hurricane coverage:
- Photos and videos show the flooding and devastation as Hurricane Florence hits North Carolina
- Hurricane Florence has 150 trapped, stranded as flood waters swallow small North Carolina town
- Weather Channel video illustrates the horrifying reality of towering floodwater in North Carolina
- Hurricane Florence could dump up to 40 inches of rain on parts of the Carolinas — here's why the deluge may be so intense
- Hurricane Florence could bring a wall of water up to 11 feet high — here's what a storm surge is and why it forms
- The 14 most important things you should do to prepare for a hurricane
- 'Watch out, America!': Astronauts in space photographed Hurricane Florence, and they say the view is 'chilling'