Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90mph winds and terrifying storm surge Friday, splintering buildings and trapping hundreds of people in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching, per the AP. More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel at the height of the storm in Jacksonville, North Carolina, near Camp Lejeune. Firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse. Hundreds more had to be rescued elsewhere from rising waters. Ominously, forecasters said the onslaught on the coast of North and South Carolina would last for hours because the hurricane had come almost to a dead stop at just 3mph as of midday.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the hurricane was "wreaking havoc" on the coast and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days." He called the rain an event that comes along only once every 1,000 years. "Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless," he said. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave." There were no immediate reports of any deaths. Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, not far from the South Carolina line. The area is expected to get about as much rain in three days as hurricanes Dennis and Floyd dropped in two weeks in 1999. About 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters, and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.