Hurricane Florence makes turbulent arrival with strong winds, bands of rain

ABC News Map shows the projected path of Hurricane Florence as of 11am Sept. 13 2018

ABC News Map shows the projected path of Hurricane Florence as of 11am Sept. 13 2018

The outer bands Florence had reached Wilmington, North Carolina, on Thursday night with hurricane-force winds and a life-threatening storm surge, officials said.

Because it has it all, including: Hot ocean temperatures that fuel hurricanes; favourable wind patterns; higher sea levels that exacerbate storm surge;cloud cover that could encompass multiple states; and an unusual combination of other weather systems that likely will stall Florence when it hits land, allowing it to sit for days and dump huge amounts of rain.

Some forecasters have predicted it could be the most powerful storm ever to hit the region.

The images, captured from249 miles above the storm, captured Florence as it draws close to North Carolina's coast.

With the brunt of the storm yet to come, a gauge on the Neuse River in New Bern, a city near the coast, was already recording 3m of inundation, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

She said: "It's not the middle of a hurricane yet, so why not come for a beer?"

In Carolina Beach, North Carolina, authorities have stopped allowing traffic to the island via the only bridge between the island and the mainland. The projected path shows the storm moving from near Wilmington, North Carolina to near Columbia, South Carolina.

The massive storm will impact millions as it charges toward the southeastern USA, and is expected to bring with it massive amounts of rain, unsafe flooding and powerful storm surges.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million to 3 million outages.

"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said. "We just want prayers from everyone". "If we lose the house, oh well, we can get housing".

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Cheryl Browning lives with her husband and son, who has terminal cancer, in Richlands, North Carolina.

At least 188,000 people were without power in North Carolina and SC.

At least 12,000 people had taken refuge in 126 emergency shelters, Governor Cooper said, with more facilities being opened.

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

"The people of North Carolina need to understand that Matthew was a Category 1 hurricane when it finally made landfall in the Carolinas, and it caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage", US Sen.

SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina announced an evacuation of the Outer Banks, a popular tourist destination.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia - as well as the USA capital Washington.

Some residents have ignored calls to evacuate.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said.

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