Watch: Hurricane Florence makes landfall in Wrightsville beach in North Carolina
Hurricane Florence crashed into the Carolinas as a giant, slow-moving storm on Friday, threatening catastrophic flooding while leaving scores in need of rescue from rising waters and hundreds of thousands without power. Photograph: (Reuters)
National Hurricane Centre(NHC) said today that Hurricane Florence has made landfall in Wrightsville beach in North Carolina.
The NHC said the category 1 hurricane is located about 10 kilometres east of Wilmington, North Carolina packing maximum winds of 150 km an hour.
Heavy rain and wind continued to lash several areas in Carolinas as the storm headed to the coast.
Rescue operations were in full flow as Hurricane Florence approached the US east coast. The National Weather Service said as much as seven inches of rain had fallen overnight in some coastal areas.
Across the Carolinas, at least 188,000 people were without power early on Friday. Roads and outer bank barriers were inundated ahead of the hurricane as rescue operators worked around the clock.
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million to 3 million outages. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.
Duke said it had more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allowed, including over 8,000 from the Duke's Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the Midwest, 1,200 from Florida and 9,400 from other utilities.