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A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

National Hurricane Center: Florence about to make landfall in N. Carolina causing life-threatening storm surge.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'm probably a 7" in terms of worry, she said.

According to CNN, the hurricane hit the east coast of the United States with 90-mph winds and relentless rain.

"Some of the rainfall totals we're getting are already adding up to about 14 inches", NHC Director Ken Graham said shortly after 11 a.m. ET.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham told The Associated Press.

Forecasters said catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected well inland over the next few days as Florence crawls across the Carolinas.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter. While winds blow onshore Friday through Monday, rainfall runoff will pile on top of the storm surge in some locations, particularly around inlets where rivers drain into the Atlantic Ocean, like Cape Fear and Jacksonville. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometres) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles (315 kilometres).

Wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were reported at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, the hurricane center said.

At 9 a.m., the center of Florence was wobbling about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 85 mph (140 kmh), according to the hurricane center.

Florence arrived at the Carolina coast as a Category 1 storm, with winds far slower than the fearsome 150 miles per hour of just a few days ago.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing in the Neuse River just outside his house in the town of New Bern, hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated. Gradual weakening is expected throughout the day Friday, with significant weakening predicted over the weekend.

Hurricane Florence has arrived in North Carolina, bringing massive floods and damage caused by heavy rain and an enormous storm surge. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water.

Around midday, Spanish moss blew sideways in the trees as the winds increased in Wilmington, and floating docks bounced atop swells at Morehead City.

In Puerto Rico, much of the material had to be flown or shipped in - which didn't happen for more than a week, in some cases - and then had to be distributed by people who were also victims of the storm.

More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path. A storm surge warning is in effect for South Santee River South Carolina to Duck North Carolina.


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