While forecasters have been keeping a close eye on the storm from the ground, the International Space Station watched the slow-moving hurricane make landfall from above. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins".
Hurricane Florence, weakened but still risky, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge. The hurricane is now centered about 220 miles (354km) east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and 170 miles to the south-east of Wilmington, North Carolina.
New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones. By that time, emergency crews had already been deployed to parts of the state where people were trapped by floodwaters. And it's travelling farther and creating deeper floods thanks to sea-level rise from climate change, which research indicates has added as much as 6 inches to Florence's surge.
North Carolina alone is forecast to get 36 trillion litres, enough to cover the North Carolina to a depth of about 25 cm.More news: Who’s going to die on ‘Modern Family’?
"It's probably going to take another 24 hours" for Florence to pass through the Wilmington region, Reid Hawkins, science officer with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said at 5 a.m. Friday.
Coastal streets were inundated with ocean water, causing damage to dozens of homes and businesses, officials said.
The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 169 km/hr the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.
Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday.More news: Trump signs executive order imposing sanctions on foreign election meddlers
The water "is as high as it's ever been and waves are breaking on my point, which is normally grass", said Copeland, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press. "I hope we don't but that might be the only thing that would affect us", James said.
Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the electricity went out.
Cooper said 108 shelters are open across the state, with more than 7,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday afternoon.
About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia. Fortunately for House, he says this storm should not be a devastating event for the beach town in terms of loss of life.More news: Trudeau disappointed with Ford's constitutional override, but won't intervene