Hurricane Florence knocks out power for more than 400,000 people in North Carolina
The hurricane, as it reached toward the US east coast, has already left hundreds of thousands of residents without power, according to reports.
Several parts of North Carolina and South Carolina were flooded even before Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday morning.
The rains before the storm turned sideways on Thursday, causing rivers to swell up and floodwaters soon filled the streets.
The National Weather Service said that despite Florence being downgraded to a Category 1 storm, it is expected to cause a 10-foot storm surge, with "catastrophic" flooding expected over parts of the Carolinas. The hurricane, as it reached toward the US east coast, has already left hundreds of thousands of residents without power, according to reports.
More than 400,000 people are without power in North Carolina, according to authorities. The top counties affected are Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Onslow and Pamlico.
"With this storm, it's a (Category 1) but the storm surge and the flooding is going to be that of a category 4," CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray said on Thursday night, adding that the momentum which the storm has generated while crossing the Atlantic will not go away just because "the winds decrease a couple miles an hour."
Weather forecasters reminded residents of the affected states on Thursday that even though the winds speeds have dropped, what makes Hurricane Florence very dangerous is its potential to cause storm surges, which will result in historic rainfall and heavy flooding in the coastal regions.
Reports state that Florence after making landfall will whip hurricane-force winds while dumping relentless rains through Saturday at least.
The director of the National Hurricane Center, Ken Graham, said: "It's not going to take much in a lot of these areas to saturate the soil, so trees are going to come down really easily" which will result in knocking down of power lines.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in both the states earlier this week and a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator said that the impending hurricane could inflict "massive damage to our country."
The storm's outer bands lashed towns on the barrier islands on Thursday night as the eye of the storm approached landfall. A weather station in Atlantic Beach recorded a total of 12.73 inches for a 24-hour period on Thursday.
City officials stated that over 60 people had to evacuate a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina had to evacuate after a part of the roof collapsed because of heavy rains and storm.