Ocean water flowed between homes and on to streets on the Outer Banks; waves crashed against wooden fishing piers.
"We already bought candles, batteries, can food items, water and so on".
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the country's Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a year ago.
Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 90 miles per hour (135 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.
The hurricane's storm surge - the wall of water it pushed in from the Atlantic - "overwhelmed" the town of New Bern at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers).
According to poweroutage.us, more than 500,000 customers in North Carolina and 50,000 in SC were without power on Friday morning, though the Weather Channel estimates up to 3 million customers could lose power in the Carolinas due to Florence.
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In the documents , it is stated FEMA "will curtail training, travel and public engagement in response to the cuts". Thompson, D-Miss., the top Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security.
With many employees at risk, Novartis said it has temporarily stopped pharmaceutical production at their Wilson, North Carolina site.
U.S. President Donald Trump took a moment on Friday to thank those responding to emergencies across the Carolinas. Officials are urging others in its path to follow suit or to prepare for the worst.
Response teams had already "brought in busloads" of rescued people from areas including Fairfield Harbor, New Bern, Adams Creek and Township 7, she said. Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls across the Carolinas.
WXII-TV reported that 150 people were waiting to be rescued from rising waters in the city New Bern.
"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometres) north of Wilmington.
North Carolina has approximately 12,000 evacuees staying at 126 shelters across the state, CBS reports.
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Since there is no confirmation of either of the two, all we can do is wait for their official word and a grand wedding. I think they love him more than me!" "That smell - it's what makes you miss them when you're away from them".
More than 370,000 people were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, state officials said.
The now Category 1 storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to 90 miles per hour (135 kph) by nightfall.
"Its slow movement will allow rain to continue to pile up in areas from Jacksonville to Wilmington seeing as much as 10" to 20" of rainfall.
A warming climate also means that the atmosphere can hold more and more water vapor, fueling hurricanes with even more water that can fall on coastal areas.
Screaming winds bent trees and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday.
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There have been rumours doing the round that the actress has been detained by the Chinese authorities due to tax evasion claims. Concerns are mounting over Chinese actress Fan Bingbing , who has apparently not been seen in public "for months".