US & Canada

In pictures: Hurricane Florence strikes the eastern US

Hurricane Florence off the US east coast in the Atlantic Ocean Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hurricane Florence seen off the US east coast, over the Atlantic Ocean

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday, drenching the East Coast area of the United States.

Five deaths have been linked to the storm and thousands of people spent the night in emergency shelters.

Originally categorised as a hurricane, Florence has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Evacuation warnings have been issued for 1.7 million people as it moves across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Here is a selection of striking images from when it hit.

A sign on a boarded-up building reads "Go away Florence" Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many residents in affected areas boarded up their homes and businesses before the storm hit
A man drives his vehicle around the Union Point Park Complex through floodwaters as the Hurricane Florence comes ashore in New Bern Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The storm caused many roads, towns, and cities to be flooded
Rescuers with a resident in a boat in North Carolina Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some North Carolina residents had to be evacuated by emergency teams
Some serious damage has occurred at Marion County Airport (KMAO) from winds associated with #Florence Image copyright JoJo Turbeville
Image caption Aircraft including helicopters, an aeroplane and a microlight were damaged by high winds at Marion County Airport in South Carolina
A vehicle in a flooded street in the North Carolina city of New Bern Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Around 150 people were trapped in their houses in the North Carolina city of New Bern
Water from the Neuse river floods the streets during the pass of Hurricane Florence the town of New Bern, North Carolina, US on 14 September 2018 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Water from the nearby Neuse River flooded the city
Two people walk in flooded streets in New Bern, North Carolina Image copyright Reuters
Image caption New Bern's streets were flooded during the heavy rainfall
Boats pushed away from the dock on a street in the town of New Bern, North Carolina on 14 September 2018. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Boats were carried by the force of the winds from New Bern's docks on to the city's streets
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBBC on the ground as Hurricane Florence arrives
A woman and her dog being rescued Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some residents were reluctant to evacuate because not all shelters accept pets
A tree is poictured on top of a house in Wilson, North Carolina Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Trees were downed across North Carolina amid high winds
A father and daughter appear emotional as a neighbour is taken away injured from fallen tree Image copyright AFP
Image caption People watch as a neighbour is rescued after a tree fell on his home in Wilmington, North Carolina


A guide to the world's deadliest storms

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.
Warm air rises into the storm.

Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.

When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane - in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific - or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we're about to get punched in the face."
Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)

The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.

A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

"Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma's eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!"
Tweet from the National Hurricane Center

The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale - other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.

Winds 119-153km/h
Some minor flooding, little structural damage.
Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m

Winds 154-177km/h
Roofs and trees could be damaged.
Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m

Winds 178-208km/h
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding
Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m

Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York

Winds 209-251km/h
Some roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses.
Storm surge +4m-5.5m

Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths

Winds 252km/h+
Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland.
Storm surge +5.5m

Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless

"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life."
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008

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Waves crash into the Second Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on September 14, 2018. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The storm continued its way across the Carolinas, sending waves crashing against this pier in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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