Bill Hemmer is reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina, where the center of Florence is passing through Friday morning.

The slow-moving storm dissipated to a Category 1 this week, but is expected to hover over the Carolinas for 48 or more hours, dropping as much as 30-40 inches of rain in some areas. 

Mayor Bill Saffo, a lifelong resident of Wilmington, said he's never seen a storm like Florence due to the duration and amount of rain forecast.

Saffo said he believes the images from Hurricane Harvey in Texas last summer motivated most of the city's residents to heed the evacuation warnings. 


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He said city officials expect the Cape Fear River to crest on Tuesday at over 25 feet and bring significant flooding. 

Saffo said the city is going to be without power for "quite some time," describing major roads as "impassable" due to downed trees and power lines. 

A few hours later in the show, Saffo said he went around to some areas of the city and found "significant damage." Saffo said roofs had been ripped off homes along the beach, but so far no loss of life has been reported. 

He said recent beach renourishment projects in nearby areas are proving to be no match for Florence's storm surge. 

"11 million dollars worth of beach renourishment is gone, just washed away," said Saffo. 

Watch the interview above and see full coverage of the storm, here.  Check out Griff Jenkins' reporting from harsh conditions in Morehead City, N.C. 


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