Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm on the southern East Coast early Friday morning, bringing with it unrelenting 90 miles per hour winds, a massive storm surge, and heavy rains that will continue to soak the Carolinas for days to come. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water. And others could only hope someone would come for them.
Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and knocked out power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, and the assault wasn't anywhere near an end.
In southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC up to 40 inches of rain could fall, producing "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", said the NHC. The post was retweeted more than 80,000 times-and one year later he's done it again (with more than 1,000 retweets).
But forecasters said its extreme size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day. Numerous calls are from residents who are trapped in their homes, some of whom reported floodwater rising up to the second floor.
There were no immediate reports of any deaths.
Hurricane Florence won't just leave fallen trees and flooded streets in its wake.
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
Shaken after seeing waves crashing in the Neuse River just outside his house in the town of New Bern, hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated. Gradual weakening is expected throughout the day Friday, with significant weakening predicted over the weekend.
"Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other risky conditions", the hurricane center briefing said. By that time, emergency crews had already been deployed to parts of the state where people were trapped by floodwaters.
Long said people in storm-damaged areas need to "get their mindset right".
In South Carolina, a shelter at Goose Creek High School in Charleston County was similarly full by Thursday night.
More than 1.7 million people in Virginia, North and SC were told to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival. "I should stay in my house, where I have water and food".
North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centres in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.
Meanwhile, the city of Jacksonville, N.C., says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity was threatened by the hurricane, according to The Associated Press.