Hurricane Florence lumbered ashore in North Carolina with howling 90mph winds and terrifying storm surges on Friday, splintering buildings and trapping hundreds of people in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.
And cameras aboard the International Space Station managed to catch incredible footage just a few minutes after the storm's landfall.
Journalist Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) tweeted: "This @weatherchannel visualization of storm surge is an incredible and sobering use of technology to show what hurricanes like Florence can do". As of Friday morning, Atlantic Beach, a town on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier island chain, already had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Service said.
The effects of Hurricane Florence can already be felt along the coast of North Carolina as of 12 p.m. on September 13.
With the brunt of the storm yet to come, a gauge on the Neuse River in New Bern, a city near the coast, was already recording 10 feet (3 meters) of inundation, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Areas further from the coast could see 6-12in of rain.
One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now".
So far, a state of emergency has been declared in five states - South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland and Washington DC.
Two people died in 2015 and nearby homes and businesses experienced an estimated $20 million in damage after an area downstream flooded, the newspaper reported.
"It's probably going to take another 24 hours" for Florence to pass through the Wilmington region, Reid Hawkins, science officer with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said at 5 a.m. Friday.
As 400-mile-wide Florence pounded away at the coast with torrential downpours and surging seas, rescue crews used boats to reach scores of people besieged by rising waters along a river. Fortunately for House, he says this storm should not be a devastating event for the beach town in terms of loss of life. Hurricane-force winds extended 130 kilometres from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 315 kilometres. That's down from a high of 140mph, but still expected to cause "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall". The vivid presentation - powered by the Unreal Engine, most commonly used in video games - seems likely to serve as a more pressing demonstration of the storm's threat than a mere written warning, and that's vitally important for folks in impacted areas. "And you don't need power to sling booze", said owner Eli Ellsworth.