There have been seven storm-related deaths since Florence, then a Category-1 hurricane, made landfall Friday morning. Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help. Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water in the river town of New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbors awaited help.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered ahead of Florence's landfall in parts of North and SC, though many people chose to remain in their homes for reasons ranging from financial concerns and the need to care for pets that they may not have been able to take to some evacuation shelters, some who stayed in their residences told ABC News ahead of the storm.
Tropical storm conditions will continue along the coast within the tropical storm warning area and also well inland across portions of SC and North Carolina Saturday.
Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) but authorities warned the danger was far from over, predicting that "life-threatening storm surges and strong winds" would persist through the night.
With tropical storm-force winds swirling 350 miles wide, Florence continued deluging North and SC on Saturday morning after pushing surging seas far ashore.
In Kinston, more than an hour's drive inland from the coast, Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a man was electrocuted as he attempted to connect extension cords outside in the rain.
On the mainland in New Bern, authorities said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater.
The storm caused chaos in the region, with trees strewn across roads, buildings battered and power cut to nearly 700,000 homes.
Prior to Hurricane Florence's landfall, more than 1.7 million were ordered to evacuate the coast.
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In Wilmington, near where the eye of the storm touched down, trees and power lines were felled and many windows were broken.
In New Bern, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said there was 10ft of water.
"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", Ballance said.
North Carolina's governor Roy Cooper described the storm as "an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, â€ he said. â€œThis is a 500- or 1,000-year event. â€Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said". Coastal towns in the Carolinas were largely empty, and schools and businesses closed as far south as Georgia.
As the storm moves into hilly terrain, it's also expected to unleash catastrophic and potentially deadly flash flooding and possibly mud slides, the hurricane center warned.
Trump ordered federal aid to supplement recovery efforts beginning September 7 in areas affected by Florence, which made landfall early Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, the White House said.
"This is going to be a very trying period for the state", he said."We're liable to have flash floods, bridges and roads washed out".
Governor Cooper said there have been "several hundred" rescue operations and "there are still some people they need to get to".
More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.