"I was born and raised here and been through every storm the last 30 years, but this one seems to be doing more damage than we expected".
Keith Beavers, a farmer in Duplin County, North Carolina, was rushing on Thursday to harvest as much corn as he could, ahead of the storm.
Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 1 to 3 1/2 feet (30 centimetres to 1 metre) as the storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days.
At least 150 people are still waiting to be rescued from the attics and rooftops of their homes as of 1 p.m. Friday, said New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw, whose adult daughter had 1 foot of water in her own home, he said.
Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the evacuation of most of the state's coastline as the storm approaches.
Storm surges were forecast to approach eleven feet in some areas along the North Carolina coast. A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house, WECT reported.
'We are trying to provide transportation where they do not have transportation, ' said Carnie Hedgepeth, the county's emergency services director.
SCV/Christopher Collura via ABC News/Twitter; Chip Somodevilla/GettyA composite image shows a gas station canopy being dismantled by high winds in Topsail Beach, North Carolina, and residents wading through flooded streets in New Bern, North Carolina.
"I honestly cried", Kittrell said. The Category 1 hurricane's eyewall was beginning to reach the Carolina coast and the storm was moving with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles (150 kilometers) an hour. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
North Carolina is the largest tobacco grower and ranks second among USA states in hog inventory and producing broiler chickens. But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.
"There is going to be a lot of rain". By midnight, his rain gauge showed that he'd gotten 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain since midafternoon. Other communities got well over a foot (30 centimetres). It is expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said. Forecasters said the torrents could continue for days, touching off disastrous flooding.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
Having slowed to a crawl, a weakened but still powerful Hurricane Florence finally made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on Friday morning.
"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move further inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina (Friday) and Saturday", forecasters added.
The National Weather Service office in Newport, North Carolina, in a tweet called the storm surge "catastrophic". That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimetres) of water, he calculated.
The weather service later measured a storm surge 10 feet deep in the city.
On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air. Gusts at the Wilmington International Airport this morning have been measured as high as 105 miles per hour.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.
Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighbourhood during Florence's assault.
"We're working as hard as we can", Hodges says. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later cancelled.
Florence also blew down trees, including one that went through the roof of Kevin DiLoreto's home in Wilmington.
"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".
Subtropical Storm Joyce forms in north Atlantic
It's not clear if the storm is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane after it hits the eastern Caribbean. Severe gales are expected in the United Kingdom , moving from the south west to the north west.