WATCH LIVE: FEMA update on Hurricane Florence
As of Friday morning, Hurricane Florence has left more than 370,000 without power in North Carolina.
Hurricane Florence made landfall early Friday on North Carolina's coast, bringing extreme winds and massive storm surges as officials reported dozens of water rescues overnight.
The eye of the storm passed over the coast near Wrightsville Beach, northeast of Wilmington, at 7:15 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.
Here's the latest on Hurricane Florence:
- As of 8 a.m. ET Friday, Florence was 10 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina, and moving westward at around 6 mph.
- Storm surges were forecast to be at their peak Thursday night just before midnight and Friday around noon, according to NBC News' Al Roker.
- There were more than 455,000 power outages as of early Friday in North Carolina, according to the state department of public safety.
- The Red Cross said more than 1,600 people spent Thursday night in 36 Red Cross and community shelters in the Carolinas.
The Category 1 storm was downgraded late Thursday, but continued to carry maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and crawled along at just 6 mph. Forecasters warned of "catastrophic" freshwater flooding along the Carolinas.
More than 455,000 customers were without power Friday morning, according to emergency management officials, as social media users shared videos of snapped trees and water rushing onto coastal streets like rivers.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said there were no immediate reports of deaths, but cautioned the flooding and rising waters could inundate low-lying communities for days.
"This is an uninvited brute that just won't leave," Cooper said on "Today."
The storm's eye passed over downtown Wilmington at sunrise, capping a long night of groaning winds and pounding rain.
The Cape Fear River, which runs along downtown's western edge, churned with whitecaps. Just as light began to break, the power cut out, leaving the entire city of about 115,000 residents in a grey shroud. Water was already rising in roads and buildings.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Sasso said his city has gotten more than 100 emergency calls, but crews have had difficulty getting out while the storm rages ashore and there's been "significant" inland flooding.
"It's pretty bad. It's deteriorating very quickly, and it'll be like this for quite some time," Sasso told "Today."
"I've been here all my life, and I've never seen a hurricane that's here for two days and pretty much on top of you," he added.
Officials said they were most concerned about torrential rainfall and flooding as high tide approaches. The NHC said a gauge in Emerald Isle, about 84 miles north of Wilmington, reported 6.3 feet of inundation.
Fire and rescue officials in the riverfront city of New Bern, about 90 miles north of Wilmington, said water rescues were taking place and urged people not to take refuge in their attics unless they have a way to cut through the ceiling.
New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said about 200 people were rescued overnight and taken to shelters, while another 150 were still awaiting help early Friday. He said some residents remained holdouts even after crews went door to door pleading for them to seek emergency shelter.
"We're on our way, we will get you rescued," Outlaw said while cautioning that first responders have to be careful of their own safety.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, about 70 people had to be rescued from a hotel as the storm threatened its structural integrity, reported NBC affiliate WRAL.
Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips told "Today" that no one was killed, but heard reports of downed trees and power lines.
In total, more than 10 million people face "life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds" from Florence, the NHC said. Days ahead of the storm, about 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia were warned to evacuate before its outer bands reached the coast Thursday.