Newly downgraded to a Category 1 storm, Hurricane Florence was already wreaking havoc on North Carolina as the gigantic storm crept slowly ashore early Friday, with hundreds of people already rescued. The storm is packing winds of 90mph—much lower than once feared—and is moving at 6mph, reports NPR. Authorities stress that even with the lower wind speed, the storm is extremely dangerous and could still kill "a lot of people," with inland flooding posing the biggest risk, the BBC reports. The National Hurricane Center said Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, NC, about 7:45am.
Authorities say Florence is bringing "catastrophic" flooding to a large area of the Carolinas, and at least six tornadoes have been spotted in eastern North Carolina. the AP reports. The Guardian reports that North Carolina's Department of Public Safety says more than 320,000 homes in the state are without power. The coastal city of New Bern, which sits at the intersection of two rivers, tweeted that 150 people were awaiting rescue from out-of-state FEMA teams, the News & Observer reports. Mayor Dana Outlaw said around 200 people had been rescued earlier. He could not confirm whether there were fatalities. Authorities in Jacksonville, around 30 miles south of New Bern, say 70 people had to be rescued from a hotel that was in danger of collapsing. (Read more Hurricane Florence stories.)