Storm chaser records Florence battering Carolina coast

Watch Hurricane Florence Make Landfall in This Incredible Space Station Video

- People and their pets were forced to evacuate from floodwaters as Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday. Two Lenoir County men were killed in separate incidents. Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding.

The giant, 400-mile-wide hurricane unloaded heavy rain, flattened trees, chewed up roads and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.

Cooper said the hurricane was "wreaking havoc" on the coast and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days". It was expected to slowly move southwest into SC before turning north, forecasters said.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. "We don't have any right now", said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 193km/h, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 225km/h earlier in the week. "I'm not sure if it's a shift in the wind or low tide - but the water has miraculously disappeared". Florence is going southwest after landfall.

Its storm surge and the prospect of 1-3ft of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which had dropped off from an alarming 140mph earlier in the week. Other communities got well over a foot.

He noted even rainfall in North Carolina could rebound to SC in the form of swollen rivers downstream.

In the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Florence, North Carolina's governor offered a series of dire warnings.

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.

Environmental regulators are monitoring more than three dozen toxic waste sites in the path of Hurricane Florence, as well as scores of low-lying water- and sewage-treatment plants at risk of flooding.

The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.

He said 20,000 people were being housed in shelters across the state.

As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on the state's Outer Banks barrier islands, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Service said. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.

While a few tornadoes will also be a possibility in eastern North Carolina today.

Coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and at least 510,000 homes and businesses were without power, almost all of them in North Carolina, according to, which tracks the nation's electrical grid. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour (6kph), lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.

"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel. Officials say more than 100 people have already been rescued in the area overnight. "We will work with the OIG". "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled.

"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".

"This is my third hurricane that I have worked, my second one with Craven County", she says.