The Miami-based center says the center of the eye moved ashore with top sustained winds of 90 mph, making Florence a Category 1 hurricane in terms of wind intensity.
Coastal and river communities on the north side of Florence are getting the worst of the flooding as the hurricane swirls onto land pushing a life-threatening storm surge.
The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes.
Forecasters say “it cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland.”
A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.The city of Jacksonville’s statement says people have been moved to the city’s public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.
Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other lie-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.
None of the people rescued were injured.
Another North Carolina city situated between two rivers says it has around 150 people waiting to be rescued from rising flood waters from Hurricane Florence.
WXII-TV reports the city of New Bern said Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way. City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts tells WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been rescued.
The National Hurricane Center says the Neuse River near the city is recording more than 10 feet of inundation. Roberts says the storm surge continues to increase as Florence passes over the area.