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Hurricane Florence's leading edge battered the Carolina coast Thursday, bending trees and shooting frothy sea water over streets on the Outer Banks, as the hulking storm closed in with 100 miles per hour (155 kph) winds for a drenching siege that could last all weekend.

Regardless of whether or not Florence moves inland swiftly or stalls, risky surf conditions will extend as far to the north as Nova Scotia, as far to the south as the east-central Florida coast and the northeast-facing shoreline of the Bahamas and as far to the east as Bermuda.

Officials warn of life-threatening storm surges in both North and SC as the hurricane moves towards land with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph (150 km/h).

Myrtle Beach, a SC beach resort, was virtually deserted with empty streets, boarded up storefronts and very little traffic.

Meteorologist say conditions will deteriorate throughout the day Friday.

The "threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days" in the impacted areas. Florence's center will approach the North and SC coasts late Thursday and Friday.

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometers) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.

For days, coastal areas will be bombarded with torrential rain, high winds, coastal erosion and storm surge, while Inland areas will be poured upon.

"Gradual weakening is forecast while Florence moves farther inland during the next couple of days, and it is expected to weaken to a tropical depression" by Saturday night, the center said in a bulletin. "Florence will then recurve across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week". With Florence, the potential for deaths by drowning comes from the storm surge as well as incredibly heavy rainfall.

The center downgraded Florence to a Category 1 hurricane, but warned that it still carried "very risky winds".

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds across the state.

More than 24 hours after Florence caused major flooding in New Bern, N.C., the city announced that all people who needed rescuing had reached safety.

"There is going to be a lot of rain".

"We've got a lot of resources, but we don't want to put them out there where they could be injured or maybe worse", Sprayberry said ahead of the storm. Other residents have told CNN they're not evacuating because emergency shelters won't accept pets.

About 800 flights in the region have been canceled ahead of the storm, CNN reported.

A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

President Donald Trump is expected to travel to areas hit by Florence next week, once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts, the White House said on Friday.

More than 10 million people live in areas under warnings or watches for hurricane- or tropical storm- force winds, CNN reports. "Catastrophic effects will be felt".

"The storm surge forecast with this storm has not changed", warned Brock Long, the head of FEMA.

"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves", the update said.

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