Hurricane Florence deluges Carolinas ahead of landfall
Rain, wind and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas early on Friday as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people with record rainfall and punishing surf.
It was set to inundate almost all of North Carolina in several feet of water, State Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference, while National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted up to eight months of rain in two or three days.
Florence was expected to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday, and forecasters said its size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for nearly a full day.
With the brunt of the storm yet to come, a gauge on the Neuse River in New Bern, a city near the coast, was already recording 10 feet (3 meters) of inundation, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
The downtown area of the city of 30,000 people was underwater and around 150 people were waiting to be rescued, city authorities said on Twitter.
At least 188,000 people were without power in North Carolina and South Carolina early on Friday. Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and restoration could take weeks.