Florence Unleashes Her Wrath Along the North Carolina Coast

Two deadly storms threatening US East Coast, the Philippines

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the coastline for days.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com calculated that 34 million people in the USA could get at least 3 inches of rain from Florence, with more than 5.7 million people probably receiving at least a foot.

About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.

State officials spent most of the week issuing increasingly dire warnings to people about the need to flee their homes in the face of Florence's fury. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend.

Roy Cooper, the Governor of North Carolina, said surviving the storm would be a test of "endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience".

The hurricane was "wreaking havoc" and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days", the governor said.

Two deadly storms threatening US East Coast, the Philippines

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.

Ominously, forecasters said the onslaught on the North Carolina-South Carolina coast would last for hours and hours because the hurricane had come nearly to a dead stop at just 3 mph (6 kph) as of midday. "I was definitely stranded", she said.

The storm was downgraded to a category one Thursday evening, but is still packing winds of at least 85 miles per hour.

There is really nowhere for the water to go.

Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain.

The NHC described Florence as a "slow mover" and said it had the potential to dump historic amounts of rainfall on North and SC, as much as 40 inches (one meter) in some places. Other communities got well over a foot (30 centimetres).

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Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that 'a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC'.

Forecasters have been predicting catastrophic flash flooding.

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

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion litres) of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland. 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. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to our neighbors of North and SC". Pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

Florence's intensity has diminished since it roared ashore along the USA mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

WHAT'S HAPPENING: Hurricane Florence looms over East Coast
A state of emergency has also been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.

More than 24 hours after Florence caused major flooding in New Bern, N.C., the city announced that all people who needed rescuing had reached safety.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".

The defended President Donald Trump's earlier tweets claiming Democrats had inflated the death toll stemming from Hurricane Maria a year ago, saying he was "responding to the liberal media and San Juan Mayor [Carmen Yulîn Cruz] who sadly, have tried to exploit the devastation by pushing out a constant stream of misinformation and false accusations".

"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard, that trying to get out we got thrown into trailers".

"Our house is on high ground so we're not anxious about the flooding", he said. But she's even more anxious about what would happen if she couldn't quickly get back to work at a Family Dollar store after the storm passes.

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Rodgers said he is feeling "a little better every day", but is "pretty sore". "We'll see what tomorrow brings". Instead, he did rehab work on the side and extensive exercises with the medical staff inside the stadium.

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