Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90mph.
The National Hurricane Centre said Florence is now lashing the North Carolina coast with hurricane-force winds and a life-threatening storm surge. It said the threat of freshwater flooding will increase in coming hours and days from the storm’s heavy rains.
The Miami-based centre said in an update at 11pm EST on Thursday that the storm’s eye was about 50 miles south of Morehead, City, North Carolina. The core is also about 60 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The storm is moving to the northwest at 6mph.
Forecasters say the centre of Florence is expected to move inland between today and Saturday.
WATCH: An unexpected sight just after Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington, NC Friday morning. Dolphins were swimming in the rising water near the shore. pic.twitter.com/HoTmuPox7O
— WPRI 12 (@wpri12) September 14, 2018
North Carolina officials have said parts of the state could experience a once-in-a-millennia flood as Hurricane Florence dumps rain for days to come.
Governor Roy Cooper said that Florence is “wreaking havoc” and he is concerned “whole communities” could be wiped away.
He said parts of the state have seen storm surges as high as 10 feet.
Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said the state is expecting 1,000-year “flood events” in areas between Wilmington and Charlotte.