Hurricane Florence may become the costliest storm in US history, according to analytics firm CoreLogic, which says that damages may exceed $170 billion and affect 759,000 homes and businesses, reports CBS Chicago.
The category one storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at approximately 7:15 a.m. Friday. Despite its weakening, the storm has grown substantially in overall size - and will continue to slowly bombard coastal areas with its massive storm surge, torrential rain and high winds.
NEW: #Hurricane #Florence has made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7:15 AM EDT (1115 UTC) with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph (150 km/h), and a minimum central pressure estimate of 958 mb (28.29"). https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/vzpe6MjTf9— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 14, 2018
AccuWeather Founder and President Dr. Joel N. Meyers has a lower estimate than CoreLogic, placing the predicted damage in the $30-60 billion range.
"For further context, we accurately estimated the total economic impact from Hurricane Irma would be $100 billion." said Meyers.
As we reported earlier Friday, despite warnings that FEMA wouldn't risk the lives of first responders to rescue coastal residents who have ignored the governor's mandatory evacuation order, many residents have stayed behind. According to one recent count, roughly 150 people were awaiting rescue. Meanwhile, major structural damage has been reported to homes and businesses in Onslow County, while a 10 foot storm surge was reported in Morehead City. As of 5 am Friday, 200 had already been rescued. More than 1,300 flights along the East Coast have been canceled.
Incredible job being done by FEMA, First Responders, Law Enforcement and all. Thank you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2018
Furthermore, 62 people were rescued from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina after officials discovered potentially fatal structural damage to the building.
About 12:45 AM, Jacksonville 9-1-1 received a call about damage to the Triangle Motor Inn at 246 Wilmington Hwy. A basketball sized hole was found in a corner room by an Officer. Firefighters later found life-threatening damage to the structure. Cinder blocks that were part of the structure were crumbling in some places and residents were still in many of the rooms. -Jacksonville, NC Government
About 12,000 people have relocated to 126 evacuation shelters, state officials said. River flooding peaked at 10.1 feet on the Neuse River, according to a USGS gauge cited by the Weather Channel. The river flooded downtown New Bern and elsewhere in Craven County as County Manager Amber Bearn said she was bracing for "conditions to deteriorate." Meanwhile, "people are trapped on roofs and in vehicles." The nearby Trent River had also overflowed. A map released by the county depicted just how widespread the flooding had become.
Meanwhile, officials have declared states of emergency in a few states, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.
Today, nearly 3,000 National Guard members from Guam, Hawaii, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are on duty responding to or preparing to respond to hurricanes and a typhoon. https://t.co/Y6egSfl9CH #HurricaneFlorence— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) September 12, 2018
For those interested in tracking the storm's path, a live feed of radar images can be viewed below: