NEW BERN, North Carolina -- As Hurricane Florence pounds the North Carolina coast with 90-mph winds and relentless rain, more than 100 people have been plucked from a storm surge that's already reached 10 feet, as dozens more await rescue.
The storm's worst scenes so far have emerged in the besieged town of New Bern, where about 150 people called for help overnight, city officials said. They urged residents to take shelter at the highest points of their homes, including rooftops.
"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 homes. "We are stuck in the attic."
The Category 1 hurricane's center is expected to crash onshore sometime Friday, then linger for another whole day, unloading flash flooding, pounding wind and towering storm surges at least through Saturday. Florence's rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolina coasts, forecasters said. Gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods.
By Friday morning, Florence already had:
• Sapped power to nearly 321,692 customers in North Carolina, emergency officials said.
• Pushed in a storm surge of 10 feet above normal levels in Morehead City, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said.
• Forced more than 60 people to evacuate a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after part of the roof collapsed, city officials said.
• Canceled more than 1,300 flights along the East Coast through Friday.
Hours earlier, streets along the coast had been transformed into raging streams, and massive waves surged along the Outer Banks.