Hurricane Florence reaches North Carolina

The hurricane was downgraded to a category 1.

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on Hurricane Florence (all times local): 

7:15 a.m. 

Forecasters say the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence is about to make landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina. 

It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph), but a gust of 112 mph (180 kph) was reported just offshore. 

The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes. 

At 7 a.m., the center of the eye was located about 5 miles (10 kilometers) east of Wilmington, moving west at 6 mph. 

7 a.m. 

It's about the water, not the wind, with Hurricane Florence making an extended stay along the North Carolina coast. 

Forecasters say ``it cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland.'' 

Top winds were holding at 90 mph -- that's just a Category 1 hurricane -- but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast. 
 

6 a.m. Friday

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

The National Hurricane Center says 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 (20 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement was 6 mph (9 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). 

The Miami-based center says Florence is bringing ``catastrophic'' fresh water flooding over a wide area of the Carolinas. 

5:50 a.m. Friday

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

The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been 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. 

None of the people rescued were injured. 

5:00 a.m. Friday

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is about to make landfall in North Carolina bringing with it life-threatening storm surges and hurricane force winds. 

As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement was 6 mph (9 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). 

The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with ``catastrophic'' fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas. 

4:25 a.m. Friday

A North Carolina city situated between two rivers says it has around 150 people waiting to be rescued from rising flood waters from Hurricane Florence. 

WXII-TV reports the city of New Bern said Friday that two out-of-state FEMA teams were working on swift-water rescues and more teams were on the way. City spokeswoman Colleen Roberts tells WRAL-TV that 200 people have already been rescued. 

The National Hurricane Center says the Neuse River near the city is recording more than 10 feet (3.05 meters) of inundation. Roberts says the storm surge continues to increase as Florence passes over the area. 

The city warns that people ``may need to move up to the second story'' but tells them to stay put as ``we are coming to get you.'' 

4 a.m. Friday

The National Hurricane Center says the eyewall of Hurricane Florence is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast. 

As of 4 a.m., Florence was 30 miles (45 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement was 6 mph (9 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). 

Forecasters said conditions will deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland. 

3:30 a.m. Friday

Life-threatening storm surge is being reported along the coast of the Carolinas. 

The National Hurricane Center said early Friday that a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, recently reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation. Emerald Isle is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) north of Wilmington. 

As of 3 a.m., Florence hadn't moved and was still centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 mph (9 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). 

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. 

2 a.m. Friday

The National Hurricane Center says that ``catastrophic'' freshwater flooding is expected over portions of the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence inches closer to the U.S. East Coast. 

The now Category 1 storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to 90 mph (135 kph) by nightfall. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster. 

As of 2 a.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Its forward movement increased slightly to 6 mph (9 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles (150 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles (315 kilometers). 

Forecasters say the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. 

11 p.m. Thursday

Hurricane Florence already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and more is to come. 

Screaming winds bent trees and raindrops flew sideways as Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday. 

The storm's intensity diminished as it neared land, with winds dropping to 90 mph (135 kph) by nightfall. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster. 

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding. 
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ORIGINAL STORY

10:40 P.M. THURSDAY

Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph).

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is now lashing the North Carolina coast with hurricane -force winds and a life-threatening storm surge. It says the threat of freshwater flooding will increase in coming hours and days from the storm's heavy rains.

The Miami-based center said in an update at 11 p.m. EDT Thursday that the storm's eye was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Morehead, City, North Carolina. The core is also about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The storm is moving to the northwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

Forecasters say the center of Florence is expected to move inland between Friday and Saturday.

This item has been corrected to show storm is moving to northwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

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