16 September, 2018
By Friday evening, the Cape Fear River in Wilmington saw storm surge flowing north being met with rainwater flowing west, giving the water nowhere to go.
Florence blew ashore early Friday in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, buckling buildings, deluging entire communities and knocking out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses as it crawled inland and weakened into a still-lethal tropical storm.
Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph (225 kph) over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometers) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.
Duke Energy said Saturday night that heavy rains from Florence caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station near the North Carolina coast. The storm will dump rain in the Carolinas through the weekend.
More than 10 million people are under hurricane watches or warnings and 1.7 million have been ordered to evacuate the coast.
Dozens of electric fix trucks massed to respond to damage expected to hit central North Carolina as rainwater collected into rivers headed to the coast.
"We've been moving beds, linens, clothes, as much stuff as we could to get it out, you know, so we won't lose it", said Tucker Sparkman, who also lives in Rocky Point.
Hurricane Florence is dumping rain on North Carolina and pushing a storm surge taller than most humans onto communities near the coast. An elevated risk of landslides is now expected in western North Carolina.
Hurricanes usually drive people away from Florida, but Florence is making the Sunshine State into a refuge for people from the Carolinas.
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The center of the hurricane´s eye came ashore at about 7:15 a. m. EDT (1115 GMT) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
As people waded in waist-deep floodwaters in some parts of North Carolina, officials said things are only going to get worse.
"If you live in a floodplain and planned on staying, you might need to reevaluate", said Joel Cline, a North Carolina native and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.
About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians have been deployed, with high-water vehicles, helicopters, and boats.
Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was", he said.
They included three who died 'due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways, ' the Duplin County Sheriff's Office reported.
'All roads in the state right now are at risk of floods, ' he said.
"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later fled her home near New Bern. Parts of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches. He said the gust was the strongest recorded in Wilmington since 1958.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.
Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina. "It's making it hard for us to move valuable resources to areas in need". She was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited help.