More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm approached, and more than 12,000 were in shelters. "If I can't get back in a week, after a while they might turn on each other or trash the place". Some parts of New Bern could be flooded with a possible 9-foot storm surge as the Category 2 hurricane approaches the United States. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".
Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere near an end.
Cuthbert Langley, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross in South Carolina, told HuffPost that the organization has more than 1,500 disaster response volunteers spread across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Winds have dropped to about 144km/h but North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the worst of the storm was yet to come.
Rainfall will be one of the most destructive elements of hurricane Florence, with heavy rain triggering unsafe flash floods and potential landslides.
As Hurricane Florence crashed onto the Carolinas, federal emergency teams prepared themselves to work on a long process of rebuilding the storm-battered landscape it would leave behind. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.
There were no immediate reports of any deaths. Florence is expected to arrive in southeast North Carolina on Friday morning before drifting south into SC.
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Being such a small number, first responders have made clear to them the situation when the storm makes its expected complete landfall by 8 a.m. Friday morning.
On Thursday evening, the Neuse River burst its banks which caused rapid flooding in New Bern, North Carolina, forcing residents to flee as the entire city lost power.
North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centres in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.
U.S. President Donald Trump took a moment on Friday to thank those responding to emergencies across the Carolinas.
Within hours of the storm making landfall, officials in Onslow County - which includes the city of Jacksonville, reported "major structural damage to homes, businesses and institutions".
"I've been through hurricanes before", he says.
About one million seven hundred thousand people have been ordered to evacuate on the coast of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.