Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday as a Category 1 storm Friday, while the coast was battered by hurricane-force winds and officials warned of a “catastrophic” storm surge.
Storm surge was already pounding coastal towns. The USGS said the tide in Emerald Isle was about 7 feet above sea level. Meanwhile, a rescue operation was already underway in New Bern. First responders launched an operation to rescue about 150 people.
Florence's winds weakened as it drew closer to land, dropping from a peak of 140 mph earlier in the week, but North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper continued to urge caution.
"Don't relax, don't get complacent. Stay on guard. This is a powerful storm that can kill. Today the threat becomes a reality," Cooper said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.