Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday unleashing 105 mile per hour winds, which uprooted trees, damaged houses and brought down power lines.
After maintaining Category 4 or 3 status most of Wednesday, Florence was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph churning about 205 miles southeast of Wilmington, according to a 5 a.m. briefing by the National Hurricane Center.
Yesterday, the European Space Agency released a short video of astronauts aboard the space station watching the storm out of the cupola armed with powerful cameras to capture its giant knot of storm clouds.
But the size of the storm meant the path didn't really matter.
One estimate claimed that up to eight months of rainfall could drench North Carolina this week as Hurricane Florence continues to batter the southeastern coast of the US. City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts tells WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been rescued.
"We're not going to be satisfied until the last resident is rescued and in a shelter, and then we can assess damages and go from there", New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said, according to the Herald Sun of North Carolina.
By Friday night the center of the storm had moved to eastern SC, about 15 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.
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"We're out of power so we spent the first few hours of the day playing board games with candles", he said. Duke Energy expects between 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses to lose power.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from its center.
The City of New Bern said in a tweet before dawn Friday that there were about 150 people who still needed swift-water rescue. "Significant river flooding is expected as a result of excessive rainfall across area hydrologic basins". Many were located in the Midlands, as 1,224 of the outages were reported in Richland County, and 77 more in Lexington County.
One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now".
On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.
At least 100 rescues have been made in hard-hit New Bern, and that figure is expected to climb.
Florence is projected to migrate at barely more than a walking pace across northern SC, passing close to the city of Florence - truly - on Saturday. As the need arises, state and local emergency management officials are working to set up even more shelters where people can stay safe during and after the storm. Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and the tide rolled in. The trend is "exceptionally bad news", said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, since it "smears a landfall out over hundreds of miles of coastline, most notably the storm surge". The National Hurricane Centre in Miami says the core of Florence was located at 11pm Friday about 20 kilometres west-northwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses. She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.
Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her familys pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.