Hurricane Florence: North Carolina family's garage submerged in water

Scenes from Hurricane Florence making landfall on the United States' east coast

A gust of 105 miles per hour was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago.

On Friday morning, Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina, bringing extreme winds, surging seas, and huge amounts of rain to the coast.

Juvenile Center Road - the entrance to the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office - was also reported closed, through sheriff's office personnel were already dispatched throughout the county, including at the Emergency Operations Center in Wilmington. The child's injured father was taken to a hospital.

According to Tom Collins, director of Pender County Emergency Management, a woman called 911 about a medical emergency at her home in Hampstead, but, due to downed trees, first responders were not able to get to her in time.

The 11 p.m. ET National Hurricane Center update warned of "catastrophic freshwater flooding" in parts of North and SC, and of continuing life-threatening storm surges and strong winds overnight as Florence moves slowly west-southwestward over extreme eastern SC.

At 9 a.m., the center of Florence was wobbling about 20 miles southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 85 mph, according to the hurricane center. Later Friday, a wind gust of 68 miles per hour was measured at a station in Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington.

"The only difference is, back then it was within 14 days", he said.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still unsafe, 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.

Almost 3,000 people died in the aftermath of the storm, according to an estimate from researchers at Georgetown University that was adopted by the Puerto Rican government as the official death toll for the storm.

In a display of the early effects of the storm, one flood gauge on the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina, showed 10 feet (three meters) of flooding, the NHC said.

On average, a hurricane will hit North Carolina once every five years.

The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions. Significant weakening was expected over the weekend.

Parker says that while she's holding up OK so far, she worries about her friends and others in the community, and about how Florence might impact her home.

"We have people trapped by the storm surge and flooding waters getting to the steps of their house", Parker says.

As of Friday, the casino had reserved over 600 room nights for storm victims; another 200 families were expected to arrive on Sunday. Rainfall totals will be similar to those in hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in 1999, Chris Wamsley of the National Weather Service said Friday morning.

Dozens have already been rescued in New Bern.

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, South Carolina early Friday.

"I about jumped out of my skin", he said in a phone interview Friday morning.

Rainfall will be one of the most destructive elements of hurricane Florence, with heavy rain triggering risky flash floods and potential landslides.

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