Hurricane Florence made landfall on the Carolina coast Friday, the National Hurricane Center said, bringing 90 mile per hour winds and the potential for life-threatening storm surges.
The NHC said the eye of the Hurricane, which has been downgraded to a category 1 storm, was estimated at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7:15 am eastern time. Florence is expected to bring the equivalent of 8 months of rain over the next two or three days, with a 'disaster zone' impact area on the U.S. Atlantic coast that is home to more than 10 million people.
"On the forecast track, the center of Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina today and Saturday," the NHC said in its 5 am eastern time update. "Florence will then move generally northward across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week."
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has warned residents that, "even when the storm moves through, the rivers will continue to rise ... This rain is going to increase the levels of our rivers. Some of them predicted to get to historic levels."
An estimated 100,000 homes and businesses in North and South Carolina, as well as Virginia, were estimated to be without power prior to the storm's landfall, with Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) - Get Report warning of as many as 3 million outages that could take weeks to repair.
"Despite our workforce, customers should continue to make plans for their homes and facilities," said Duke Energy's Howard Fowler. "It's important for people to know this is no ordinary storm and customers could be without power for a very long time - not days, but weeks."
States of emergency have been declared across the area, with President Donald Trump Tweeting yesterday that as many as 3,000 national guard members are on active watch as extreme weather threatens both the Atlantic coast and the state of Hawaii, in the form of Tropical Storm Olivia.