There haven’t been any immediate reports of deaths after hurricane Florence made landfall in Wrightsville, North Carolina this morning.
But it created conditions too dangerous for crews to respond to calls of help from hundreds of people who ignored evacuation warnings.
Pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air in the storm’s 145 kilometre an hour winds.
Tens of thousands are without power and the U-S National Hurricane Center reports the barrier island of Emerald Isle is underwater.
More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel in North Carolina at the height of the storm.
Florence’s storm surge and the prospect of more than one-metre of rain are considered a bigger threat than its winds, with forecasters predicting catastrophic flooding well inland over the next few days.