Tens of thousands of homes are without power and sea water is sloshing through coastal streets as Hurricane Florence begins lashing the US East Coast.
The hurricane is moving towards land with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph (150 km/h).
It lost power as it approached North and South Carolina, but officials warn it could still kill “a lot of people” with risks of “catastrophic” flooding.
Evacuation orders are in place for more than a million people.
Thousands had taken shelter in emergency facilities by Thursday night.
Photographs showed residents crowded into corridors with blankets on inflatable mattresses and mats.