Thursday, August 27, 1998 Published at 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Bonnie batters Carolinas
A satellite image, taken as Bonnie moves up the east coast
North and South Carolina have felt the full impact of the 200km/h winds.
Roofs have been ripped from buildings and power has been cut to thousands of homes.
Forecasters are warning of extreme rainfall until Bonnie swings back out to sea.
An emergency services spokesman reported "terrific damage" after the 600km wide hurricane hit land near the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
Winds eased slightly as Bonnie passed over land.
But its slow speed - in the six hours after hitting land Bonnie travelled just 20 miles - caused widespread flooding from unremitting torrential rain.
There are fears that Bonnie's slow progress could produce a 12ft-high tidal surge.
Hurricane Bonnie is heading north and is eventually expected to head back out to sea near Duck, North Carolina.
State of emergency
Around 400 miles of coastline are being buffeted by winds of hurricane force and hundreds of people have left their homes for emergency shelters.
The coastal city of Wilmington in North Carolina has been worst hit.
Hurricane Bonnie's relentless pummelling snapped trees, smashed car windows, cut power supplies and swamped roads.
The authorities in Wilmington have imposed a dusk to dawn curfew, forbidding access to the city's downtown area.
Most of Wilmington's 60,000 people have taken refuge in shelters.
While holidaymakers and many local residents left in droves, some die-hards elected to ride out the storm as North Carolina law forbids forced removal of people from their homes.
And among the mayhem some people are throwing impromptu hurricane parties.
Scores of schools and other public buildings have been transformed into emergency shelters and the National Guard has been mobilised.
The Carolinas were badly hit by hurricanes two years ago and the people here know what to expect - possible death, injury, widespread destruction of property and perhaps weeks without power, water or telephones.