<p>Robert Simmons Jr. and his kitten "Survivor" were rescued from floodwaters after Hurricane Florence dumped several inches of rain in New Bern, North Carolina on Friday night.</p>

Robert Simmons Jr. and his kitten "Survivor" were rescued from floodwaters after Hurricane Florence dumped several inches of rain in New Bern, North Carolina on Friday night.

Photograph by Andrew Carter, The News & Observer/AP Images

Photos Capture Rain-Fueled Power of Hurricane Florence

The storm hit the coast of North and South Carolina early this morning, but its dangerous impacts will last well into the weekend.

Hurricane Florence hit North and South Carolina as a category one hurricane early Friday, and already many residents are struggling to cope with the storm's life-threatening forces.

Sixty-five mile-per-hour winds are blowing across the region, and some areas are projected to see as much as 40 inches of rain. As of Friday afternoon, some parts of the state had already seen 14 inches of rain.

Hurricane Florence is slow, large, and intensely rainy. Its relatively slower speed means it will likely hover over coastal regions for longer than it would have if it were moving faster.

(Read about the science behind why Florence is such a dangerous storm.)

Because Florence formed during peak hurricane season—from August to October—it's powered by some of the warmest ocean waters seen in the Atlantic. Warm waters act like fuel for hurricanes, helping them sustain structure, and warm temperatures carry more water.

It's one of the worst storms seen in the southeastern U.S., and drowning presents the greatest risk to those still in the area.

Storm surges are expected to cover residential areas with as much as 10 feet of water. As surges move inland, they'll fill rivers that feed into the ocean, overwhelming already full river banks and causing flash flooding farther inland.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm will begin to weaken later today as it moves fully inland and is no longer fueled by warm ocean water. Associated tornado threats are still possible to the north of the hurricane's center, and intense rainfall will make flooding and mudslides a danger over the next few days.

“Hurricane Florence is so widespread, you will find it hard to find a North Carolina resident who has not been impacted,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper during a press briefing Friday morning. “It has just come ashore and will be here for a long time. This is going to be a bad storm.”

(Climate change made Hurricane Florence deadlier. Read how.)

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