Hurricane Florence lashes USA east coast, triggers flood warnings

A video showing the potential impact of Hurricane Florence is blowing people’s minds

Hurricane Florence, 'An Uninvited Brute,' Grinds N.C. Coast And Floods Inland Rivers

As US citizens in the path of Hurricane Florence gear up for it, people have been warned and advisories are being issued in the media.

Gov. Roy Cooper of the Tar Heel state announced a State of Emergency ahead of the storm making its way to the coast.

As Florence raged, a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico brought heavy rain to already saturated areas along the Texas coast, resulting in street flooding and prompting some schools to cancel or cut short classes.

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

City officials sent out an dramatic tweet about 2am Friday as rivers swelled, tides crested and the rain wouldn't stop, and people found themselves trapped in their homes as the water rose.

As the Category 1 hurricane bore down on the Carolinas on Thursday, WCTI meteorologists Donnie Cox and Shane Hinton continued to oversee coverage of the storm for the city of New Bern.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Durham Herald-Sun around 5am that about 200 people had been rescued so far.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted Florence would drop up to eight months of rain in two or three days.

More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said. The power company has warned that up to 3 million people could be left without power for an extended period of time following Hurricane Florence.

Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 km/h), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night in the US.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast. It will likely weaken more on Friday, with "rapid weakening forecast over the weekend", the hurricane center said.

Cooper said he hopes more shelters will also open today.

Morehead City resident Rebecca Marson decided not to evacuate because her surgeon husband wanted to remain behind with other first responders.

"I had a lot of fear initially but I'm glad to be inside and safe", said Zelda Allen, 74, a retired tax accountant from Hampstead, North Carolina, who was riding out the storm at Wilmington's Hotel Ballast with her husband.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.

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