Hurricane Florence’s winds were so fierce they caused a Ferris wheel to spin continuously in Virginia.
The ride at the Atlantic Fun Park on 15th Street in Virginia Beach was spotted continuously turning as Florence made landfall with 90 mph winds in the early hours of Friday morning.
The Ferris wheel spun several times during a 10-second video that was posted online by a WVEC reporter.
Hurricane Florence was pushing a life-threatening storm surge for miles inland with screaming wind that was destroying buildings in its path.
Hurricane Florence’s winds were so fierce they caused a Ferris wheel to spin continuously in Virginia
The powerful storm already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left hundreds of thousands without power.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, more than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing hotel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.
Florence has already inundated coastal streets with ocean water and forecasters say that ‘catastrophic’ freshwater flooding is expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.
Screaming winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence’s leading edge moved in for an extended stay along the coast.
Forecasters said this onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.
The storm’s intensity held at about 90 mph (144 kph), and it appeared that the north side of the eye was the most dangerous place to be as Florence moved ashore.
The ride at the Atlantic Fun Park on 15th Street in Virginia Beach was spotted continuously turning as Florence made landfall
The National Hurricane Center said a gauge in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 6.3 feet (1.92 meters) of inundation.
And about 46 miles farther up the waterfront, in New Bern, about 150 people were waiting to be rescued from floods on the Neuse River.
‘Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience.’ North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned, describing day after day of disastrous weather to come.
Cooper also requested additional federal disaster assistance in anticipation of what his office called ‘historic major damage’ across the state.
Flooding is seen New Bern, North Carolina, after early storm surges caused the Neuse River to burst its banks on Thursday
More than 80,000 people were already without power as the storm began buffeting the coast, and more than 12,000 were in shelters.
Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.
Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it’s unclear how many did.
The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.
A sign warns people away from Union Point Park after is was flooded by the Neuse River in New Bern, North Carolina
Waves slam the Oceana Pier & Pier House Restaurant in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina as Hurricane Florence approaches the area on Thursday
Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.
Forecasters said that given the storm’s size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year.
As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are ‘supplied and ready.’
He also disputed the official conclusion that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.