"Hurricanes bring out a lot of good in people and also the worst in those few bad actors preying on homeowners whose most prized asset has been damaged", Jon Moore, spokesman for Florida's Department of Financial Services, told the Miami Herald following Hurricane Irma in 2017. "I was looking for water moccasins to hit me at any time", he said. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. "It's making it hard for us to move valuable resources to areas in need".
Florence flattened trees, buckled buildings and crumpled roads.
A mother and infant were killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, when a tree fell on their home.
It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, but stronger wind gusts have been reported. It was crawling west-southwest at 3 miles per hour, lifting huge amounts of ocean moisture and dumping it far from the coast.
Two other rain collection locations for NOAA are approaching the 1999 mark as well - Newport/Morehead City is at 23.75 inches and Emerald Isle is at 23.66 inches.
"Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.
Cooper called Florence the "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities.
The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Florence has finally made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Significant weakening was expected over the weekend.
Authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within 1.6 kilometres of a stretch of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 160 kilometres from the coast.
The guard has mobilized over 100 members and 35 shallow-water rescue boat teams.
Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.
Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore. They had heeded officials' warnings that the storm was treacherous, with record-setting rains and storm surges not seen in North Carolina in decades.
The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.
-So far: roughly 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain have fallen north of Swansboro, North Carolina, and it's only going to get worse. Forceful winds cracked trees in half and toppled power lines. Traffic lights out of order because of power failures swayed in the gusty wind. As of Saturday, Fayetteville has received 2.5 inches of rain but heavier rain are expected this afternoon, with more expected in the coming days, Doll said. "Catastrophic flooding, long term major river flooding, life-threatening storm surge, and wind damage are occurring or imminent".
None of the people rescued were injured.
Rising water forced a North Carolina TV station to evacuate its newsroom in the middle of Hurricane Florence coverage.
"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference.
More than 20,000 people were in 157 shelters in North Carolina, with almost 6,000 in SC shelters, officials said.