Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, early Friday morning, thrashing the already battered coast with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that officials warned could trigger catastrophic floods further inland.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence’s eyewall made landfall at about 7:15 a.m. a few miles east of Wilmington, with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph that pushed life-threatening storm surges miles inland, and, combined with a persistent pelting rain, severely damaged buildings.
Forecasters said the terrifying onslaught would last for several hours, because Florence was barely moving along and still drawing energy from the ocean. They said “catastrophic” freshwater flooding was expected along waterways throughout the Carolinas.
Officials said Friday they expected the same amount of rainfall seen during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. However, instead of rainfall over 14 days, Florence will bring it over 3 days.