Hurricane Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina bringing with it life-threatening storm surges and hurricane force winds.
As of 6 a.m., Florence was 10 miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Its forward movement was 6 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles.
Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.
The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing “catastrophic” fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas.
In Jackson, NC., 70 people were rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity was threatened by the hurricane. The people were moved to the city’s public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.
Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.
There were no injuries reported.
At around 4:30 a.m., 150 people in the city of New Bern, which is situated between two rivers, were waiting to be rescued from rising flood waters.
Two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way. About 200 people have already been rescued from the town near the Neuse River, which is recording more than 10 feet of inundation.
Forecasters say the center of Florence is expected to move inland between Friday and Saturday.
Far out in the Atlantic, Joyce strengthened into a tropical storm on Thursday evening with top sustained winds of 40 mph.
The center says that storm is about 1,040 miles west-southwest of the Azores and no coastal watches or warnings are in effect. Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Helene is forecast to pass near the Azores on Saturday, and Tropical Storm Isaac is moving west across the eastern Caribbean.