Hurricane Florence has made landfall in North Carolina, but its crawling pace and overwhelming storm surges are setting up hours and hours of destruction and human suffering — with dozens desperately awaiting rescue in one flooded city alone.
The Category 1 hurricane, with punishing winds and dumping 3 inches of rain an hour, made landfall at 7:15 a.m. ET near Wrightsville Beach, just east of Wilmington.
Florence’s center may linger for another whole day along coastal North and South Carolina — punishing homes with crushing winds and floods and endangering those who’ve stayed behind.
In the besieged North Carolina city of New Bern, rescuers by midmorning Friday had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said.
Florence’s rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolinas, forecasters said. Rainfall totals will be similar to those in hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in 1999, Chris Wamsley of the National Weather Service said Friday morning.
“The only difference is, back then it was within 14 days,” he said. With Florence, “we’re looking at the same amount of rainfall in three days.”