Hurricane Florence: North Carolina devastated by ‘CATASTROPHIC’ floods

Hurricane Florence: North Carolina devastated by ‘CATASTROPHIC’ floods

Donald Trump was to visit hurricane-hit zones "early to the middle of next week", the White House said, "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts".

Officials have warned that the life-threatening storm could come with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph and carries a risk of "catastrophic" flooding.

"We are not turning away that help", she said.

He added that people living near rivers, streams and lowland areas in the region were most at risk.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", a tweet from the city overnight said.

NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push as far as 2 miles (3 km) inland.

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

According to the National Hurricane Centre, heavy rains with tropical-storm-force winds are spreading across the outer banks and coastal southeastern North Carolina. "This will cause extremely unsafe flooding", the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned.

About 200 people were rescued in New Bern, a small coastal city 90 miles further north-west, with another 150 residents awaiting help after a 10ft surge in floodwater caused by hours of heavy rainfall.

Members of the Louisiana Cajun Navy were assisting with rescue operations but later moved to Wilmington after emergency responders said conditions were under control.

In Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down, trees and power lines were down and many windows had been broken.

The city woke Friday to the sound of exploding electrical transformers with strong gusts throwing street signs and other debris as well as water in all directions. "And you don't need power to sling booze", said owner Eli Ellsworth.

The vivid presentation - powered by the Unreal Engine, most commonly used in video games - seems likely to serve as a more pressing demonstration of the storm's threat than a mere written warning, and that's vitally important for folks in impacted areas.

It is now a tropical storm with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), but a gust of 112 miles per hour (180 kph) was reported just offshore.

On top of the potentially destructive hurricane, forecasters also put parts of North Carolina on tornado watch.

"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Peggy Perry, who along with three relatives, was trapped early Friday in her New Bern home.