'Catastrophic' Hurricane Florence buffets USA east coast

'Catastrophic' Hurricane Florence buffets USA east coast

Florence was expected to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, at midday local time (5pm Irish time), and forecasters said its size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

Hurricane Florence is continuing to push towards a landfall around the North Carolina/South Carolina border, and is beginning to lash the central Atlantic seaboard with damaging winds and storm surge.

US Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and SC were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day. These could be as high as 13ft (4m) along parts of the North Carolina coast.

The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Florence has brought a life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina Coast.

Winds were already picking up along the coastline early Thursday and some minor flooding was reported on the Outer Banks, barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, and in some seaside coastal towns.

Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have declared a state of emergency as forecasts showed Florence dumping historic amounts of rain on the area.

Hurricane-force winds extended 130 kilometers from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometers.

"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said. Will Epperson, a 36-year-old golf course assistant superintendent, said he and his wife had planned to ride out the storm at their home in Hampstead, North Carolina, but reconsidered due to its ferocity.

Wilmington resident Julie Terrell said she was concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters. "Well, we're about to get punched in the face".

Several of the images were taken when the ISS was directly over the eye of the hurricane.

Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina. It has also moved most ships, submarines and planes out their base at Hampton Roads, Virginia, to safety far at sea or in distant airbases.

"Since my husband retired and my health declined, we have his retirement as an income".

There are about 150 people waiting to be rescued.

Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

Residents of the Carolinas and neighboring states should consult local authorities for any evacuation orders and other preparation guidelines.

Click on the videos below for a live look at the storm's impact in North and SC.

Photos of the beaches in North and SC show how serious it's going to be.

But, knowing the intensity of Florence's impact on Myrtle Beach, "My friends are worrying me right now", Combs said.