WILMINGTON, N.C. (Reuters) – The outer edges of Hurricane Florence began lashing coastal North Carolina with heavy winds and flooding roads on Thursday hours before expected landfall that will bring walls of water and lingering downpours.

The center of Florence is expected to hit North Carolina’s southern coast around midnight (0400 GMT) on Friday, then drift southwest before moving inland on Saturday, enough time to drop as much as 40 inches (1 meter) of rain in places, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Avon on North Carolina’s Outer Banks barrier islands reported winds gusting to 74 miles per hour (119 km per hour), while Morehead City had received 3.6 inches (9.1 cm) of rain in the past 13 hours, the National Weather Service said. Already some roads were flooded.