Thousands of people living near North Carolina's rising rivers were ordered evacuated Saturday as hurricane-turned-tropical storm Florence practically parked itself over land and poured on the rain Saturday, raising fears that the state could be in for the most destructive flooding in its history. As of Saturday, about 676,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, along with 119,000 in SC.
Duke Energy, which provides electricity to customers in eastern North Carolina, has roughly 380,000 customers without power. "More than likely it's maybe a mindset of 'we've been through this before, '" he said. "Work will begin when conditions safely allow", the company said on its website on Saturday.
As for floodwaters, it's important to not let any seep into open wounds - something that can be tricky for people who are escaping a hurricane's wrath.
Forecasters have been predicting catastrophic flash flooding.
"If it goes up to my front step, I have to get out", Quintin Washington said. "These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", city public information officer Colleen Roberts said.
In Wilmington, a city of about 120,000 people on North Carolina's Atlantic coastline along the Cape Fear River that is home to historic mansions and even a decommissioned World War Two-era battleship, streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris.
More than 300 volunteers from nine USA states have joined the relief effort in North Carolina, according to ABC News.
As the United States dealt with Florence, a strong typhoon tore across the northern tip of the Philippines, killing at least three people, wrecking homes and triggering landslides before heading toward Hong Kong and southern China.
Heavy rains and storm surge created destructive flooding of several feet throughout the Carolina coast.
The Miami-based center had said earlier Friday Florence's arrival would come with "catastrophic" fresh water flooding over portions of the Carolinas. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami says more than 16 inches of rain have fallen at locations in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way. A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling and hitting his head while packing to evacuate.
A 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said.
Mother Lesha Murphy-Johnson and her baby, Zac, were killed after being trapped inside their home in Wilmington when a tree fell onto the roof at around 9.30am on Friday.
It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wilmington.
Homes and roads have been utterly submerged by the barrage of rain caused by the remnants of hurricane Florence - now a tropical storm. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.
The White House said President Trump had issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina a day earlier, freeing up funds for housing and home fix.
One of those was the Waccamaw River in South Carolina's Horry County, which had reached 8.9 feet by Saturday; it floods at 11 feet.