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Fears of Flooding as Hurricane Ophelia Batters N. Carolina Coast

Hurricane Ophelia has gathered more strength and battered the coast of North Carolina Wednesday night, pounding the beachfront communities with rains and sustained winds of 140-kilometers per hour.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for coastal North Carolina, north to Virginia. Forecasters have discontinued all warnings for South Carolina.

Fears of floods are intensifying, as the storm's slow speed indicates that it could rain for days over the region, producing as much as 38 centimeters. Storm surges are also expected.

Some 50,000 people along North Carolina's coast have already lost power due to high winds and heavy rain.

The governors of Virginia and North Carolina have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.