Charlotte and Asheville in North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia, could also be in for heavy rains as Florence plods inland. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm will travel through upstate SC, be downgraded to a tropical depression, then turn north toward the Ohio Valley. It said it was located about 60 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and forecasters predicted a slow westward march. No insurance purchased right now could kick in fast enough to cover someone from a storm that's on top of them.
Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C., on September 14, 2018.
SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area.
"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches".
Just after midnight, the station tweeted that everyone had safely evacuated.
The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical storm climbed to at least five. The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to rise over their banks, flooding cities and towns.
It diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, but forecasters said the 350-mile-wide storm's slow progress across North and SC could leave much of the region under water in the coming days. Rain draining from upriver, especially from hard-hit North Carolina, will come down rivers such as the Waccamaw, which isn't expected to crest in Conway for another three to five days.
Coast Guard helicopters were taking off across the street to rescue stranded people from rooftops and swamped cars. "Don't drive across standing or moving water", the governor said, urging people to heed evacuation orders.
The monster storm could dump drenching rains of up to one meter.
Cline said July was the wettest ever in that part of North Carolina, and the water table rose 21 inches higher than normal. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said. Her 6-foot-2 husband went to see what he could do, but the water was above his chest, she said.
The Washington Post reports that, according to preliminary reports submitted to the National Weather Service, Florence's 30 inches of rainfall in North Carolina has broken the statewide rainfall record set by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 of 24.06 inches.
Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water. Its winds were down to 40 miles per hour.
More than 800,000 homes and businesses have lost power and Mr Cooper said the danger from flooding would linger for days.
The city of New Bern, North Carolina, reported more than 1,200 911 calls in a 12-hour span, and roughly 4,300 residences and 300 commercial buildings damaged. "We know how to prepare our plants for these types of major events". And oft-critical Republicans like retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen slammed Trump's claim as "shameless and disgusting".
Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as 40 inches of rain (1 meter).
Hurricane Florence is dumping rain on North Carolina and pushing a storm surge taller than most humans onto communities near the coast.
Florence's eye made landfall over the Wrightsville Beach water tower about 7:15 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wilmington. But the storm was shaping up as a two-part disaster, with the second, delayed-action stage consisting of inland flooding, caused by rainwater working its way into rivers and streams. Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain by Friday night with more torrents on the way.
"It's not anywhere", North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday.
At 11am yesterday, the hurricane centre said Florence had maximum sustained winds near 75kph and continued to produce catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas.
Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did. Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water, while many of their neighbors awaited help.
Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.
None of the people rescued were injured.