At least 150 people had to be rescued from the dangerous storm surge as Hurricane Florence pummeled the North Carolina coast.
The storm made landfall Friday near Wilmington, North Carolina. A life-threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds are expected, the National Hurricane Center said.
Nearly 150 people had to be rescued FEMA teams from New Bern, North Carolina, as they called for help overnight, city officials announced.
"The worst of the storm is not yet here but these are early warnings of the days to come," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. "Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience."
The storm weakened to a Category 1 storm Thursday night, but 400,000 people in the Carolinas have been left without power, as the hurricane lashes the coast, reports said.
Cooper has requested addition federal disaster assistance as he expects the state to have "historic major damage."
North Carolina has opened 126 shelters for about 12,000 people and nearly 5,000 people were reportedly staying in shelters in South Carolina Thursday, The New York Times reported.
Nearly 2 million residents were ordered to evacuate the Carolinas and Virginia before the storm hit, but it’s not clear how many heeded the warnings.
The storm is expected to bring catastrophic flooding to the Carolinas and bring more than 20 inches of rain.
"A turn toward the west at a slow forward speed is expected today, followed by a slow west-southwestward motion tonight and Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina Friday and Saturday,” the center said in a statement.