**LIVE UPDATES** Deadly Florence Pummels Carolinas as Catastrophic Flooding Feared

Tropical Depression Florence on Sunday continues to batter the Carolinas …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
JOSHUA CAPLAN

Tropical Depression Florence on Sunday continues to batter the Carolinas as authorities fear catastrophic flash flooding will wreak mass destruction across the region. The storm is still swirling at a near-standstill, dumping torrential rain over areas already flooded by seawater and swelling rivers across both states.

► Florence has been degraded from a Tropical Storm to a Depression. 

► At least 18 people are dead as Florence batters the Carolinas.

► North Carolina’s New Bern and Wilmington experienced severe flooding and extensive building damage.

► At least 740,000 customers are without power across the Carolinas.

► Analytics firm CoreLogic says Florence could cost at least $170 billion in property loss.

► At least 2,400 flights have been canceled.

**Follow all of the events on the Breitbart News Live Wire below. All times in eastern.**

11:28 PM: Tornado appears to have briefly touched down in Sidney, North Carolina.

11:15 PM: Over the weekend, renowned chef Jose Andres and his team helped serve 150,000 meals to people displaced across the Carolinas by Florence.

11:07 PM: TDS Weather reports Florence remnants may bring showers to parts of Ohio and Indiana over the next 24 hours.

11:04 PM: A new tornado watch is issued in parts of North and South Carolina.

11:00 PM: Deadly Hurricane Florence has weakened—But authorities warn the danger is far from over, with swollen waterways threatening catastrophic flooding, the Agence France-Presse reports. Residents in Grifton are scrambling to prepare for the worst, having taken a hard hit from past monster storms Floyd in 1999 and Matthew in 2016.

Bridge access will likely be cut Wednesday, when it’s predicted that waters bloated by pounding rains unleashed by Florence, since downgraded to a tropical depression, will peak. The creek has already begun overflowing its banks in some spots, but for now emergency personnel are largely on standby. “People who needed to be evacuated were evacuated,” said Justin Johnson, Grifton’s fire chief. “We continue to patrol the area, but people have already been through Hurricane Matthew and know what to expect.”

Matthew roared into the Eastern Seaboard in 2016, making landfall in Florida before slowly marching up the US East Coast. The northward turn took several states, including North Carolina, by surprise; unprepared for severe flooding, 26 people died. But this time, local authorities have appealed to the US National Guard for relief operations help.

Sergeant John Brandt and his team were deployed to Grifton, where they’ve been camped out for several days in a room in the local fire department barracks. As even higher floodwaters loom, the National Guard reserves are lending a semblance of reassurance to locals, whom Brandt said have been “really accommodating.”

Area authorities have set a curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am to minimize risks at night, but according to the town’s mayor Billy Ray Jackson, these measure are not always enough. “You can put mandatory evacuations and curfews in place, the problem is to enforce them. You’ll always have people thinking they can ride it out,” he said. “And those people are the first ones to call for help when in trouble, putting other people’s lives at risk.”

10:48 PM: The National Weather Service releases an experimental Florence advisory summary.

10:45 PM: The number of Americans with flood insurance is on the rise, yet Hurricane Florence is likely to make it painfully clear that too many homeowners in the Carolinas and other vulnerable regions remain unprotected, the Associated Press reports.

An analysis of federal flood insurance records by The Associated Press found there were roughly 5.1 million active flood insurance policies in the U.S. as of July 31, up from 4.94 million a year earlier.

The Carolinas had modest gains — a 2.5 percent increase in South Carolina and a 3.5 percent increase in North Carolina.

Yet large gaps in coverage remain. South Carolina is the second-highest insured state for flooding, with roughly 65 percent of properties in flood hazard areas insured. But in North Carolina, where forecasters say the storm might bring the most destructive round of flooding in state history, flood coverage is less common, with only 35 percent of at-risk properties insured.

After blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph (145 kph) winds, Florence virtually parked itself much of the weekend atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore. Storm surges, flash floods, and winds scattered destruction widely.

Most of the gains observed in the federal flood insurance data over the past 12 months occurred in Texas, with about 145,000 new policies. Insurance experts say that Hurricane Harvey, which brought tremendous flood damage to Texas and Louisiana late last summer, helped increase public awareness that homeowners need flood insurance.

“That’s terrific. Nothing sells flood insurance like a storm,” said Robert Hunter, who ran the National Flood Insurance Program in the 1970s.

Still, federal officials say there are too many Americans in vulnerable areas who lack flood insurance — even after storms such as Sandy, Matthew and Harvey caused widespread property damage and financial losses with storm surge and rainfall. A look at the five-year and 10-year trends shows a decline in the number of flood insurance policies nationwide.

10:40 PM: WBTV reports Charlotte, North Carolina, could experience emergency flooding conditions.

10:10 PM: Ashe County, North Carolina residents were asked to evacuate amid fears the Headwaters Dam is in danger of breaching due to severe flooding.

9:48 PM: NEWS CENTER Maine meteorologist Ryan Breton says there is a tornado in Columbus County, North Carolina.

9:41 PM: The National Weather Service issues a “Flash Flood Warning” for areas including Wilmington, Lumberton, Murraysville, North Carolina until 5:30 a.m. EDT.

9:37 PM: Florence is expected to bring an extra 5-10 inches of rain to parts of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina. New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts are expected toreceivee 2-5 inches of rain.

9:32 PM: The Lumber River in Robeson County, North Carolina, has risen to 25 feet.

9:29 PM: Aerial photos captured earlier Sunday by Oklahoma Task Force 1 member shows widespread flooding in eastern North Carolina.

9:12 PM: Aerial footage captured earlier Sunday by Oklahoma Task Force 1 member shows widespread flooding in eastern North Carolina.

9:03 PM: 18 people are now dead as Florence batters North and South Carolina.

8:50 PM: Heartwarming video of appreciative pup licking rescuers in Lumberton, North Carolina.

8:23 PM: WGME’s Adam Epstein shares before and after photos of a beach house in Surf City, North Carolina, hit by Florence.

https://twitter.com/AdamWGME/status/1041482089147891714

8:09 PM: New satellite images show Virginia bracing for severe rains and flash floods.

8:09 PM: WRAL’s tweets footage of Morehead City’s waterfront in North Carolina.

8:02 PM: Remnants of Florence to push on Monday towards West Virginia, Virginia, Mayland, Pensylvania and Washington, D.C.

7:53 PM: Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer is helping to serve food at a hotel in Wilmington, North Carolina.

7:45 PM: AccuWeather aerial footage shows mass flooding of Wilmington, North Carolina.

7:31 PM: The death toll from Hurricane Florence and its remnants has risen to 17 as officials say a 3-month-old died in North Carolina when a tree landed on a mobile home, according to the Associated Press.

Gaston County manager Earl Mathers said in an email to commissioners the tree fell on a mobile home Sunday in Dallas, about 240 miles west of where Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in Wrightsville Beach.

County spokesman James McConnell confirmed to The Associated Press that officials believe the tree fell because of the rain and wind from the storm’s remnants.

7:15 PM: Flash flood watches have been posted in parts of southern West Virginia as the remnants of Hurricane Florence fall on saturated ground, per the Associated Press.

The National Weather Service has issued the watch through Monday evening in Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe and Summers counties.

The weather service says 2 to 4 inches of rain are expected in the watch area with 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) or more possible in parts of the Greenbrier Valley.

A flood warning has been posted in Virginia along the New River, which flows north into West Virginia.

In June 2016, 9 inches of rain fell in 36 hours in parts of West Virginia, leaving 23 dead statewide and destroying thousands of homes, businesses and infrastructure. Fifteen people died in Greenbrier County alone.

7:00 PM: WSB reporter Chris Jose shares update about flooding in Laurinburg, North Carolina.

7:00 PM: Homes in Kinston, North Carolina, are surrounded by floodwaters as Florence travels north.

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A home is surrounded by flood water from the Neuse River September 16, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Fed by the storm surge and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, the Nuese is currently at flood stage in and around Kinston and is not expected to crest until later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A home is surrounded by flood water from the Neuse River September 16, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Fed by the storm surge and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, the Nuese is currently at flood stage in and around Kinston and is not expected to crest until later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Old vehicles are surrounded by flood water from the Neuse River September 16, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Fed by the storm surge and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, the Nuese is currently at flood stage in and around Kinston and is not expected to crest until later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A North Carolina State Highway Patrol drives through high water on State Higway 11 after the Neuse River flooded a section of the road September 16, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Fed by the storm surge and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, the Nuese is currently at flood stage in and around Kinston and is not expected to crest until later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

6:30 PM: Man rescues six dogs locked in an outdoor cage by their owner in Leland, North Carolina.

6:23 PM: Additional scenes from Florence-stricken Leland and Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Flood waters from Hurricane Florence surround a house and flow along the street on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. The storm has been downgraded to a tropical depression. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

LELAND, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A steeple lies next to the Elah Baptist Church after being blown off by the strong winds of Hurricane Florence on September 16, 2018 in Leland, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A road is washed out by the rains from Hurricane Florence as it passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Flood waters from Hurricane Florence flow along the street past the St. James United Holy Churchas on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. The storm has been downgraded to a tropical depression. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

6:11 PM: The Associated Press reports officials have confirmed a 17th death attributed to Florence.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety says a pickup truck was traveling east on a road near Gilbert, South Carolina, around 6 a.m. Sunday when it drove into standing water on the roadway.

Officials say the driver, identified as 30-year-old Rhonda R. Hartley, lost control and went off the side of the road, hitting a tree. The driver died at the scene.

Officials in South Carolina are warning about dangerous flash flooding throughout the state as rains from the remnants of Hurricane Florence continue.

The driver’s name wasn’t immediately released.

5:41 PM: North Carolina’s chief lawyer says he’s looking into accusations that retailers are bilking customers through exorbitant prices as Hurricane Florence and the storm’s remnants have crossed the state, per the Associated Press.

Attorney General Josh Stein said Sunday his office has received 500 complaints so far alleging price-gouging for essentials like gas and water, as well as excessive hotel prices for evacuees. Stein says investigations of gas stations have already begun.

The price-gouging law took effect when Cooper declared a state of emergency more than a week ago. It prevents retailers from charging “unreasonably excessive” prices for goods used in an emergency. The law allows Stein’s office to stop the high pricing and seek refunds for consumers. Civil penalties also are possible.

Stein also warned citizens to be careful about finding reputable businesses to perform home repairs or tree removals following the storm and about choosing reputable charities for recovery donations.

5:21 PM: Flash floods continue to restrict roadway access in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: People look on at Cross Creek that has been turned into a river by the rains from Hurricane Florence as it passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A vehicle turns around at Cross Creek that has been turned into a river by the rains from Hurricane Florence as it passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

5:18 PM: Drone footage shows extend of flooding in parts of North Carolina.

5:16 PM: Tropical Depression Florence has picked up speed as it continues dumping heavy rains over the Carolinas, per the Associated Press.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is moving north at 14 mph — a brisk pace compared to its sluggish crawl across the region since Thursday, when it barely topped speeds at which most humans can walk.

Florence’s top sustained wind speeds held at 35 mph. By 5 p.m. Sunday, Florence was centered about 25 miles south-southeast of Greenville, South Carolina, and about 60 miles south-southeast of Asheville, North Carolina.

Forecasters say Florence is still expected to produce excessive rainfall as it turns from the Carolinas over the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England early this week.

5:10 PM: Resident of New Bern, North Carolina, predicts the flood-stricken town will emerge from Florence stronger than ever. “This is New Bern…the people in New Bern love New Bern,” she says.

5:07 PM: Latest stats of Tropical Depression Florence.

4:43 PM: The Associated Press says Floodwaters from Florence are lapping at doorsteps of some homes in the town of Bennettsville, South Carolina, where firefighters used an inflatable boat to get some residents to dry ground.

Heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Florence caused the street to flood Sunday on Talon Drive where Mildred Smith lives across the street from her niece, Jovanaka Smith.

Water had seeped to their front porches Sunday afternoon when firefighters came to the neighborhood, wading door-to-door through ankle-deep water and asking residents to leave.

The Smiths packed some spare clothes and medications before getting into a rescue boat. They didn’t have to go far. Firefighters dropped them off at the neighboring home of a relative that remained on dry ground.

4:37 PM: Volunteers help stack sandbags in Kinston, North Carolina, as Florence continues to batter the region.

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Boy Scout volunteer Thomas Lewis, 12, and his father Jay Lewis of La Grange, North Carolina, help stack sandbags donated by the city of Greenville at the Farmers Market September 16, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Fed by the storm surge and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, the Nuese is currently at flood stage in and around Kinston and is not expected to crest until later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Boy Scout volunteer Caleb Jarman, 11, of La Grange, North Carolina, helps stack sandbags donated by the city of Greenville at the Farmers Market September 16, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Fed by the storm surge and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, the Nuese is currently at flood stage in and around Kinston and is not expected to crest until later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: City workers help deliver a pallet of sandbags donated by the city of Greenville at the Farmers Market September 16, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Fed by the storm surge and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, the Nuese is currently at flood stage in and around Kinston and is not expected to crest until later in the week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

4:27 PM: Duke Energy says the collapse of a coal ash landfill at a closed power station near the North Carolina coast is an “ongoing situation,” with an unknown amount of potentially contaminated storm water flowing into a nearby lake, per the Associated Press.

Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said Sunday that a full assessment of how much ash escaped at the Sutton Power Station outside Wilmington can’t occur until it stops raining. She said there was no indication that contamination from Sutton Lake had drained into the nearby Cape Fear River.

The company initially estimated on Saturday that about 2,000 cubic yards (1,530 cubic meters) of ash were displaced at the landfill, which is enough to fill about 180 dump trucks. Sheehan said that estimate could be revised after a further examination of conditions at the site.

4:15 PM: Officials in southwest Virginia are urging residents to evacuate ahead of potentially “life-threatening” flash flooding, reports the Associated Press.

The city of Roanoke is asking residents who live in a flood plain to leave their homes ahead of heavy rains expected to begin Sunday afternoon as Florence moves out of the Carolinas and heads north.

Roanoke said they expect potentially deadly flash flooding could continue through Monday afternoon. The Red Cross has opened a shelter in the city.

The National Weather Service said Florence could bring as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain in the region and lead to major river flooding that could last for several days.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s office said on Facebook that the majority of creeks and rivers that officials surveyed Sunday were “at or just outside of their banks.”

3:51 PM: A local rescue crew members help evacuate parts of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Fayetteville rescue team members walk through a flooded street as they help evacuate people ahead of possible flood waters inundating the neighborhood after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Fayetteville rescue team members carry signs to block off a road as they help evacuate people ahead of possible flood waters inundating the neighborhood after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

3:49 PM: According to the Associated Press, President Donald Trump has spoken to the mayors of New Bern, North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as he monitors the response to Florence.

The White House says Trump was also briefed Sunday on the storm’s aftermath by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz and Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Trump and Mayors Dana Outlaw of New Bern and Brenda Bethune of Myrtle Beach discussed rescue-and-response efforts in those communities.

The White House says Outlaw thanked Trump for immediately authorizing an emergency declaration to help speed the delivery of federal assistance.

3:45 PM: The National Weather Service has declared a flash-flood emergency for part of the county that is home to North Carolina’s biggest city, per the Associated Press.

The emergency was put into effect Sunday afternoon for central and southeastern Mecklenburg County. The weather service says streams and creeks are running very high in south Charlotte, Matthews and nearby areas.

The weather service warns some bodies of water have risen to record stages and impacts may be “unprecedented.”

The city of Charlotte tweeted that residents should stay off the roads.

A flash-flood emergency also was declared for adjacent Union County, where the weather service says several water rescues were underway and emergency management officials reported as many as 70 flooded roads.

3:12 PM: The North Carolina Zoo relocated 18-year-old polar bear Anana, as Florence lashes the area.

3:01 PM: ABC 4 shares footage of a potential tornado spotted in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

2:58 PM: One resident of Fayetteville, North Carolina, is all smiles as she is evacuated with her pet dog.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Cynthia Capers holds Lougie while sitting in a rescue vehicle as she evacuates her home ahead of possible flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2:56 PM: Gov.Henry  McMaster gives an update on Florence, warns officials do not know how deep floodwaters will get in South Carolina. 

Further, per the Associated Press, Gov. McMaster told reporters on Sunday that it will be days until the cresting of rivers in the area of most concern, along the state’s border with North Carolina,

Officials have been warning for days that flooding could be disastrous in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin, into which several swollen rivers that originate in North Carolina flow.

National Weather Service officials noted that as much as 16 inches of rain have fallen in Chesterfield County, with other nearby areas marking similar rainfall totals from Florence.

Transportation Secretary Christy Hall says workers are still working on projects along two roadways to divert rainwater to keep U.S. 378 and U.S. 501 Bypass passable.

2:37 PM: Downpours overnight flooded main roads in the town of Cheraw, South Carolina, early Sunday and brought water to the doorsteps of some low-lying homes, reports the Associated Press.

Cheraw Police Chief Keith Thomas says about 12 people were evacuated from four homes. Police rescued five others from cars that stalled out in floodwaters. Thomas says no one was injured.

The flooding largely receded from the town of about 6,000 people by Sunday afternoon. But Thomas said rain could fall until midnight.

Debbie Covington was nervously watching water rise in a drainage ditch near her home. She evacuated her elderly parents from their house next door, which sits directly beside the overflowing ditch.

Covington said roads blocked by water and fallen trees were making it difficult to drive.

2:34 PM: Residents of Fayetteville, North Carolina, are forced to evacuate as Florence lashes the area. 

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Dominique Capers carries her dog Lougie as she evacuates her home ahead of possible flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Naiya Willis (L) and Candice Willis walk to an evacuation bus as they leave their home ahead of possible flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Dana Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor (L-R) and their dog, Brownie, sit on an evacuation bus as they leave their home ahead of possible flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FAYETTEVILLE, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: People sit on an evacuation bus as they leave their homes ahead of possible flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2:29 PM: Determined drivers plow through heavly flooded roadways across Leland, North Carolina.

LELAND, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A motorist successfully navigates a flooded road on September 16, 2018 in Leland, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit area as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

LELAND, NC- SEPTEMBER 16: A motorist successfully navigates through a flooded road on September 16, 2018 in Leland, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit area as a Category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

LELAND, NC- SEPTEMBER 16: A motorist successfully navigates through a flooded road on September 16, 2018 in Leland, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit area as a Category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

LELAND, NC- SEPTEMBER 16: A motorist successfully navigates through a flooded road on September 16, 2018 in Leland, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit area as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2:15 PM: According to ot the Associated Press, the death toll from Florence has risen to 15.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol says a pickup truck was traveling west on Interstate 20 in Kershaw County on Sunday morning when it went off the roadway. Troopers say the truck struck an overpass support beam, and the driver died at the scene.

Kershaw County Coroner David West says the driver’s name has not been released because all relatives have not yet been notified.

Heavy rain has fallen on portions of central and eastern South Carolina after former hurricane-turned-Tropical Depression Florence moved onshore.

1:45 PM: Some officials rely on the “Waffle House index” to determine how serious a storm is. If the Waffle House is closed, the storm is really, really bad, per the Associated Press.

In Fayetteville, North Carolina, it’s the “Rude Awakening index.”

Bruce Arnold owns the downtown coffee shop by that name that has been in business in the city for 20 years.

Arnold says the shop only shuts down if it loses power, which it did in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew.

But as of Sunday afternoon, the shop still had its lights on and was open for business — even as others nearby were boarded up and had sandbags piled in front of their doors.

Meanwhile, long lines were forming at gas stations Sunday as a persistent rain fell. Many of the city’s stations are out of fuel.

Debbie Randolph says she and her husband called one station that said they had 5,000 gallons (19,000 liters) — and 60 people waiting to fill up.

1:17 PM: U.S. Coast Guard members rescue a boat full of beagles.

1:13 PM: The city of Wilmington, North Carolina, has been completely cut off by floodwaters and officials are asking for additional help from state law enforcement and the National Guard, according to the Associated Press.

Woody White is chairman of the board of commissioners of New Hanover County. He said at a news conference Sunday that additional rainfall Saturday night made roads into the city impassable.

White says officials are planning for food and water to be flown to the county, although new distribution centers will have to be found because of all the rain in the northern part of the county.

Earlier Sunday, officials from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority had said they were almost out of fuel for the water plant and might have to shut down. The utility later issued a release saying it had found additional fuel.

White says officials have asked Gov. Roy Cooper for additional aid.

12:52 PM: Florence continues to topple trees in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

12:38 PM: U.S. Coast Guard members rescue a man and his pet dog in Lumberton, North Carolina. 

12:38 PM: WBTV’s Alex Giles shares footage of a massive vehicle lineup at a Wilmington, North Carolina gas station. 

12:32 PM: Union County Schools, the sixth largest public school system in North Carolina, is canceling Monday classes.

12:19 PM: Foothill Weather Network reports a flash flood warning was issued for parts of McDowell and Rutherford County in North Carolina. 

12:19 PM: According to the Assosicated Press, North Carolina state regulators and environmental groups are monitoring the threat from hog and poultry farms in low-lying, flood-prone areas.

These industrial-scale farms typically feature vast pits of animal feces and urine that can pose a significant pollution threat if they are breached or inundated by floodwaters.

In past hurricanes, flooding at dozens of farms also left hundreds of thousands of dead hogs, chickens and other decomposing livestock bobbing in the floodwaters.

12:16 PM: The manager of a southeastern North Carolina county says about 90 people have been rescued from high waters due to flooding, per the Assosicated Press.

Columbus County Manager Mike Stephens said late Sunday morning that rivers and streams have been rising due to large amounts of rain from Florence and power is out in a large swath of the county. Stephens says the county’s secondary roads are “almost impassable” and water is covering part of one main highway, U.S. 74.

Stephens says some of the people were rescued from vehicles that ran into deep water.

He says there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities in Columbus County from the storm.

North Carolina’s transportation secretary says one of his top priorities is to find a way to get into Wilmington after damage from Florence closed major roads into the city.

Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon told The Associated Press on Sunday that U.S. 74 into Wilmington is impassable and Interstate 40 into the city also is closed.

Trodgon spoke as he flew with Gov. Roy Cooper over some of the damaged areas. During the flight on a U.S. Coast Guard cargo plane, they flew from Raleigh and to some of the hardest-hit areas, including Fayetteville, Lumberton, Jacksonville and New Bern. Weather conditions prevented them from getting as far east as Wilmington.

12:09 PM: President Trump praises response operations. “FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement are working really hard on hurricane Florence. As the storm begins to finally recede, they will kick into an even higher gear. Very Professional!” the president tweets. 

12:07 PM: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper provides the latest update on Florence.

11:57 AM: A New Hanover County, North Carolina official is requesting residents not to return to their homes as Florence continues to batter the area. 

11:45 AM: Video shows creek water continues to rise rapidly in Mountain Brook. 

11:45 AM: The National Weather Service reports Florence’s wind speeds have weakened to 35 mph. 

11:39 AM: U.S. Route 501 was narrowed to a one-lane road near Lake Busbee, South Carolina, as rescue crews deploy a flood control device. 

11:35 AM: New details have emerged regarding the 14th death caused by Florence.

Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson says 23-year-old Michael Dalton Prince was a passenger in the truck, which lost control on a flooded two-lane road early Sunday, per the Associated Press.

Johnson says the driver and another passenger escaped after the truck ended upside down in the flooded ditch north of Georgetown.

Prince is the fourth person killed by the storm in South Carolina.

Authorities say a Horry County couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning running a generator inside and a Union County woman died when her vehicle hit a tree branch.

11:35 AM: South Carolina Nation Guard members are reportedly constructing a wall of sand on Highway 501 to divert floodwaters from the Waccamaw River in Conway. 

11:19 AM: The National Weather Service reports Florence has weakened to a tropical depression. 

11:12 AM: According to North Carolina Emergency Management, statewide power outage stands at 703,184,  mainly clustered in Carteret, Cumberland, and Robeson counties.

11:06 AM: Newly released NOAA satellite image shows Florence traveling towards parts of South Carolina and Virginia. 

11:02 AM: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) says it “will likely be weeks” before power is fully restored in hurricane-stricken areas of North Carolina. 

10:58 AM: One of the authorities leading the response to Florence says the storm is causing “historic and unprecedented flooding,” according to the Associated Press. 

Michael Sprayberry is director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management. He told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that Florence’s combination of heavy rainfall, extreme storm surge and high winds makes the storm “one for the record books.”

Both Sprayberry and Coast Guard commandant Adm. Karl Schultz say they are getting all the support they need from the federal government.

Schultz has a lead role in responding to Florence. He notes that the storm is moving very slowly and that some of the affected areas haven’t seen the worst of it.

He also notes that the affected areas are looking at a “long-term recovery.”

10:51 AM: Carolina Beach officials say the bridge will remain closed. 

10:48 AM: Tensions run high at a Costco in Wilmington, North Carolina. 

10:44 AM: Marion County has received 13.3 inches of rain, the most of any county in South Carolina, according to state emergency officials. 

10:40 AM: Photo shared by WGXA’s Daniel McFarland shows low visibility in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

10:35 AM: The mayor of a Fayetteville, North Carolina, suburb says about 100 people in her community have been urged to evacuate to higher ground over flooding concerns, the Associated Press. 

Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said Sunday morning that the warning went out to neighborhoods around Hope Mills Lake because the water there is expected to rise significantly. She says fire and police officials were going door to door in the affected neighborhoods Sunday morning to make sure people are aware.

Warner says a complete dam failure is not expected. So far, she says the lake hasn’t overflowed its banks.

10:34 AM: According to the Associated Press, the mayor of New Bern, North Carolina, has imposed a curfew. He says there are 30 roads still unpassable, 4,200 homes and more than 300 commercial buildings damaged, 6,000 customers without power and 1,200 residents in shelters because of hurricane-turned Tropical Depression Florence.

Mayor Dana Outlaw told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that many of the creeks in the area are “increasing by the hour” and there’s concern about trees falling due to the saturated ground conditions.

Outlaw says officials are “urging residents to stay inside and to not travel,” especially so as to not interrupt utility workers trying to restore power.

10:29 AM: Before and after photos of North Carolina’s Hope Mills Dam show extent of flooding due to Florence.  

10:27 AM: Scenes of severe flooding from around North Carolina. 

10:17 AM: Storm chaser Aaron Jayjack shares footage of weather conditions in Charlotte, North Carolina.

10:14 AM: Heavy rain lashes Interstate 77, near Pineville, North Carolina.

10:00 AM: Toppled trees damage vehicles and homes in Wilmington, North Carolina.

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A Corvette sits damaged after a large tree fell on it, on September 16, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A car is stuck on a flooded street, on September 16, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: Robert Dolman walks past a Cadillac that has a large tree limb on it, on September 16, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: A home is damaged after a large tree fell on it, on September 16, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 16: People watch as a truck plows through a flooded street, on September 16, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit Wilmington as a category 1 storm causing widespread damage and flooding across North Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

9:52 AM: The Associated Press reports authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within a mile of a stretch of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 100 miles from the North Carolina coast. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population 200,000.

John Rose owns a furniture business with stores less than a mile from the river. Rain-soaked furniture workers helped him quickly empty more than 1,000 mattresses from a warehouse in a low-lying strip mall.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever had to move anything like this,” Rose said. “If the river rises to the level they say it’s going to, then this warehouse is going to be under water.”

On U.S. Route 401 nearby, rain rose in ditches and around unharvested tobacco crops along the road. Ponds had begun to overflow, and creeks passing under the highway churned with muddy, brown water. Farther along the Cape Fear River, grass and trees lining the banks were partly submerged.

Fayetteville’s city officials, meanwhile, got help from the Nebraska Task Force One search and rescue team to evacuate 140 residents of an assisted-living facility in Fayetteville to a safer location at a church.

Already, more than 2 feet of rain has fallen in places, and forecasters are saying there could be an additional 1½ feet before Sunday is out.

“Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren’t watching for them, you are risking your life,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Officials were warning residents not only to stay off the roads but also to avoid using GPS systems.

“As conditions change, GPS navigation systems are not keeping up with the road closures and are directing people onto roads that are confirmed closed and/or flooded,” the state Transportation Department said on Twitter.

9:50 AM: As the death toll from Florence grew and hundreds of people were pulled from flooded homes, North Carolina braced for catastrophic, widespread river flooding that could be the next stage of a mounting disaster, per the Associated Press.

Weakened to a tropical depression early Sunday after blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph (145 kph) winds, Florence was still spinning slowly atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore.

About 740,000 homes and businesses remained without power in the Carolinas, and utilities said some could be out for weeks.

Radar showed parts of the storm over six states.

Rivers swelled toward record levels, forecasters said, and thousands of people were ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.

Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels: The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to burst their banks, possibly flooding nearby communities.

9:47 AM: Authorities say a couple has died in South Carolina after using a generator inside their home during Florence, according to the Associated Press.

Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said 63-year-old Mark Carter King and 61-year-old Debra Collins Rion were killed by breathing in carbon monoxide.

Willard said in a statement their bodies were found in a Loris home Saturday afternoon, but they likely died the day before as the heavy rains and winds from former hurricane-turned-Tropical Depression Florence were moving onshore.

Florence has weakened into to tropical depression but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas.

Forecasters say heavy rains also are expected early in the week in parts of West Virginia and the west-central portion of Virginia. Both states also are at a risk of dangerous flash floods and river flooding.

9:45 AM: The head of the U.S. government’s disaster relief agency says Florence is delivering the damage that was predicted as it sweeps across the Carolinas, per the Associated Press.

Brock Long told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working to meet the demands of North Carolina officials “as they’re coming up to us.”

Long noted that “recovery is always a very frustrating process for people when they’ve lost their livelihoods, but we’re going to be OK.”

Long says the agency’s immediate focus is on search-and-rescue efforts and meeting the needs of people who are in shelters.

12:00 AM: One Cayce, South Carolina couple didn’t let Florence get in the way of their wedding. 

FOX 8 reports:

While Florence dumped rain outside today, inside First Baptist Church in Cayce flower girls dropped rose petals down the aisle.

And while a few dozen friends and family were on hand, seemingly high and dry watching Tarah and Rick get married, there were very few ‘dry eyes’ on this wedding day.

“It was wonderful, when she came thru the door I turned to her now husband and said Rick, I’m gonna be the one that cries,” said Minister Sharon Long.

Despite the unfavorable forecast, Tarah and Rick determined there would be a ceremony, even Florence could frustrate.

“We just made the decision earlier in the week- we were gonna do this regardless. Rain or shine,” said Rick.

11:53 PM: Bloomberg reports Florence floods pose a threat to tobacco crops in North Carolina: 

North Carolina is forecast to harvest 158,800 acres of tobacco this year, and it’s the nation’s top producer. Half the eastern North Carolina crop “will be basically destroyed, blown away,” Larry Wooten, president of the state’s Farm Bureau, said Saturday.

More than 60 swine operations house more than 235,000 hogs that generate almost 202 million gallons of waste per year within the floodplain of North Carolina’s coast, according to Waterkeepers, a watchdog group. Environmental organizations are preparing to inspect waterways for toxic spills from lagoons and coal-ash ponds at power plants once the storm subsides.

More than 40,000 utility workers from at least 17 states are ready to restore power, according to a news release from the federal energy department. Besides Duke Energy, utilities in the Carolinas include South Carolina-owned Santee Cooper, Brunswick Electric Membership Corp., Jones Onslow Electric Membership and Lumbee River Electric Membership.

11:29 PM: North Carolina power outages stand at a total of 658,139, according to ABC 11. 

11:26 PM: Police are blocking a section of Sam Newell Road in Matthews, North Carolina, as a local bridge experiences flooding. 

11:22 PM: 72-hour radar loop of Florence shows tropical rain bands drenching western North Carolina with up to an additional 40 inches of rain. 

11:16 PM: Footage shows the aftermath of three vehicles badly damaged by a fallen tree in Matthews, North Carolina.

https://twitter.com/AmberFOX46/status/1041162894199726080

11:08 PM: Below is a comprehensive list of all shelters presently open in the greater Charlotte area.

11:01 PM: The National Weather Services announces a tornado watch has been issued for areas of North Carolina until 7 a.m. EDT.

10:59 PM: Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Florence are producing flash flooding and major river flooding in the southeastern part of North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.

The National Hurricane Center says excessive amounts of rain are being dumped on the state. It says the effect is expected to be “catastrophic.” In its 11 p.m. update Saturday, the center also says an elevated risk of landslides is now expected in western North Carolina as heavy rains spread there.

And the threat is not only limited to the North Carolina and South Carolina. Forecasters say heavy rains are eventually expected early in the week to head into parts of West Virginia and the west-central portion of Virginia — also at a risk of dangerous flash floods and river flooding in those states.

At 11 p.m. Sunday, Florence was about 40 miles east-southeast of Columbia, South Carolina. It has top sustained winds of 40 mph and is moving to the west at 3 mph.

10:56 PM: The National Weather Service reports the “worst flooding is yet to come” in parts of the Carolinas. 

10:53 PM: Suomi NPP Satellite images illustrate how slow-moving Florence was in the last six days. 

10:43 PM: Wind gusts reached a high of 55mph.

10:41 PM: 7 Weather reports 11:00 p.m. weather advisory for the Carolinas. 

10:30 PM: Reports suggest the slope that collapsed at a coal-ash landfill near the North Carolina coast could cause big headaches for Duke Energy.

According to the Associated Press, the company has been under intense scrutiny for the handling of its coal ash since a drainage pipe collapsed under a waste pit at an old plant in Eden in 2014, triggering a massive spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge.

In a subsequent settlement with federal regulators, Duke agreed to plead guilty to nine Clean Water Act violations and pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants. The company is in the process of closing all of its coal ash dumps by 2029.

Spokeswoman Megan S. Thorpe at the state’s Department of Environmental Quality said state regulators will conduct a thorough inspection of the site as soon as safely possible.

“DEQ has been closely monitoring all coal ash impoundments that could be vulnerable in this record-breaking rain event,” Thorpe said. She added that the department, after assessing the damage, will “hold the utility accountable for implementing the solution that ensures the protection of public health and the environment.”

There are at least two other coal-fired Duke plants in North Carolina that are likely to affected by the storm.

The H.F. Lee Power Station near Goldsboro has three inactive ash basins that flooded during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, exposing a small amount of coal ash that may have flowed into the nearby Neuse River. The old waste pits are capped with soil and vegetation intended to help prevent erosion of the toxic ash beneath.

The Neuse is expected to crest at more than nine feet above flood stage Monday and Sheehan said the company expects the same ash basins are likely to be inundated again.

At the W. H. Weatherspoon Power Station near Lumberton, Sheehan said it had already rained more than 30 inches by Saturday evening, causing a nearby swamp to overflow into the plant’s cooling pond. The Lumber River is expected to crest at more than 11 feet above flood stage Sunday, which would put the floodwaters near the top of the earthen dike containing the plant’s coal ash dump.

Environmentalists have been warning for decades that Duke’s coal ash ponds were vulnerable to severe storms and pose a threat to drinking water supplies and public safety.

10:26 PM: Time-lapse video from earlier Saturday shows rain and clouds move over High Point University in High Point, North Carolina.

9:23 PM: U.S. Route 17 is reportedly flooded with six feet of water. “It’s becoming harder and harder to get in and out of Wilmington,” warns WBTV reporter Alex Giles. 

9:58 PM: Record flooding is expected on North Carolina’s Cape Fear River in the coming week, and signs of the coming flood are already apparent, according to the Associated Press.

The Cape Fear River is predicted to crest at 62 feet in Fayetteville on Tuesday.

Weekend rains have soaked the city and the surrounding area. Officials have warned the river could swell more than a mile past its banks. The nearby Little River, which feeds into the Cape Fear River, is also set to experience record flooding.

On U.S. Route 401, rain accumulated in ditches and unharvested tobacco crops along the road. Ponds had already started to overflow, and creeks passing under the highway charged with muddy, brown water.

John Rose owns a furniture business with stores less than a mile  away from the Cape Fear River. When he heard about possible flooding, he moved quickly to empty more than 1,000 mattresses from a warehouse located in a low-lying strip mall threatened by the coming surge of water. Rose says that “if the river rises to the level they say it’s going to, then this warehouse is going to be under water.”

9:56 PM: Pamela and Anthony Shafer on Saturday were married at a gas station in Charleston, South Carolina, after their wedding venue was forced to shut its doors due to Florence.

KSN reports:

They planned to hold their wedding at Ralph M. Hendricks park on Virginia Avenue, but then came Florence.

Pamela called her boss at Sunoco on University Boulevard and Fernwood drive to ask if they could hold their wedding there.

“He says, ‘are you serious? Never had a wedding at Sunoco before. Well, there’s always a time for a first.'”, Pamela said.

While their nuptials at a gas station isn’t exactly what they planned, not to mention Anthony’s tuxedo never arrived, they said they still had a great wedding.

9:48 PM: Fox 5 reports torrential rainbands are pounding southeast North Carolina, while some areas could receive an additional 8 inches of rain. 

9:42 PM: Florence winds cause a boat to end up on the front lawn of New Bern, North Carolina resident. 

9:36 PM: Additional footage from North Carolina shows Florence pummeling parts of the state.

9:29 PM: Floodwater is rising rapidly in Lumberton, North Carolina, as Florence continues to lash the region. 

9:26 PM: The National Weather Services reports heavier rain bands are moving toward Chesterfield County, South Carolina.

9:17 PM: Real or fake? A Getty photo from earlier Saturday shows a horse statue standing tall amid rising floodwater in Kinston, North Carolina.

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: The statue of a horse stands in rising water at the Exchange Nature Park along the Neuse River September 15, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least 12 deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

9:11 PM: Footage from earlier Saturday shows widespread flooding in the Cherry Grove Pier area of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

9:06 PM: Residents of Kinston, North Carolina search for another way around a flooded Highway 70.

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Rescue volunteers wade in water while looking for a way around Highway 70 where the Neuse River had flooded the road September 15, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least 12 deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Rescue volunteers wade in water while looking for a way around Highway 70 where the Neuse River had flooded the road September 15, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least 12 deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Barricades block Highway 70 where the Neuse River has flooded the road September 15, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least 12 deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

KINSTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Barricades block Highway 70 where the Neuse River has flooded the road September 15, 2018 in Kinston, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least 12 deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

8:50 PM: Displaced snakes are increasingly becoming a concern as Florence lashes the Carolinas. 

Myrtle Beach Online reports:

Thad Bowman with Alligator Adventure said that the flooding following Florence will stem from snake habitats along waterways. This could potentially dislocate them into the flood waters.

He said people should not be out during the storm, but if you are bit by a snake, get to a hospital as soon as possible. While many area hospitals are closed ahead of the storm, Conway Medical Center is still open.

Horry County is home to many dangerous snakes, most commonly the cottonmouth and the copperhead snake. These bites are treatable by medical professionals, and people bit should seek help as soon as possibly.

“They inject venom, which causes tissue destruction, platelet loss, causes bleeding, it can cause death,” Gerald O’Malley with Grand Strand Hospital said back in July.

8:45 PM: The University of South Carolina says it will start classes on Monday, instead of Tuesday as originally scheduled. “Due to a previous announcement anticipating that classes would resume on Tuesday in alignment with Richland County government, any students unable to return to Columbia for Monday classes will not be penalized for the absence,” Jeff Stensland, a spokesperson for the school, said. “Students are still responsible for the material covered in classes on Monday and are encouraged to contact their instructors in advance about any classes they may miss.”

8:35 PM: According to the Associated Press, Duke Energy says heavy rains from Florence have caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina.

Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said Saturday evening that about 2,000 cubic yards of ash have been displaced at the Sutton Plant and that contaminated stormwater likely flowed into Sutton Lake, the plant’s cooling pond. The company hasn’t yet determined if the weir that drains the cooling pond was open or whether any contamination may have flowed into the swollen Cape Fear River.

Sheehan says the company had reported the incident to state and federal regulators.

Sutton was retired in 2013 and the company has been excavating ash to remove to safer lined landfills. The gray ash left behind when coal is burned contains toxic heavy metals, including lead and arsenic.

Florence slammed into the North Carolina coast as a large hurricane Friday and has since flooded rivers and left destruction and several people dead.

Terrell, 50, of Baton Rouge, talked fast over the phone, speaking Saturday (Sept. 15) from an airboat at the group’s temporary headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina. He apologized for it, then noted he hadn’t really slept but a few hours in the last four days.

After reviewing local flood maps and the forecast, the roughly 350 volunteers from 13 states staged in areas he said they knew would flood. That landed them in Wilmington, Jacksonville and Burgaw.

The first night, he said, the United Cajun Navy rescued some people from the roofs of their cars. The floodwaters came in so fast, he said, people couldn’t get out. They received “panicked calls,” he said. “You could hear them screaming.”

Terrell said he hasn’t been doing rescue runs himself because he’s needed to help coordinate everyone, but said the elements he’s experienced so far are unlike other storms he’s weathered.

In April, the United Cajun Navy obtained 501(c)(3) nonprofit status to help raise money for fuel, food and other supplies, Terrell said.

8:12 PM: Analytics firm CoreLogic says Florence could cost at least $170 billion, which would make it — property loss wise — the costliest storm in U.S. history.

8:05 PM: The Associated Press reports the core of Tropical Storm Florence is now drifting westward over South Carolina, threatening more flash floods and major river flooding.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence was located around 8 p.m. Saturday about 65 miles east-southeast of Columbia, the South Carolina capital. Its top sustained winds have dropped some to 45 mph and Florence is crawling along at 2 mph.

Forecasters say that Florence is still a dangerous storm and is expected to dump excessive rainfall on wide areas of North Carolina and South Carolina. They also say the storm could kick up a few tornadoes on its trek across the region.

The large storm came ashore earlier in the week as a hurricane, flooding rivers, forcing high-water rescues and leaving several people dead amid a trail of destruction.

8:02 PM: Dangerous flooding occurring on Highway 17 in Hampstead, North Carolina.

8:00 PM: The News & Observer reports at least 14 people across the Carolinas have died as a result of Florence.

7:51 PM: Some of North Carolina’s largest public universities are canceling classes a little longer because travel remains uncertain and risky while Florence lingers in the region, per the Associated Press.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh both announced Saturday that they would resume classes Tuesday. East Carolina University in Greenville —which is closer to the coast— plans to re-open Wednesday.

News releases from all three campuses identified travel challenges for students in making their decisions. These schools cancelled classes for two or three days earlier in the week as Florence approached the coast as a hurricane. Though downgraded to a tropical storm it is still churning across the region, dumping heavy rains and leaving flooding and destruction in its wake.

7:44 PM: Five individuals were arrested following reports of looting at a Dollar General store in Wilmington, North Carolina, according to Wilmington Police. “Charges are pending and those details will be released as they become available,” authorities say.

7:34 PM: A tree fell on the childhood home of hip-hop star J. Cole, according to local reports.

The Fayetteville Observer writes:

It’s not clear how much damage the tree did to the Forest Hills Drive house made famous by Cole’s third studio album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive.”

J. Cole’s house is far from the rivers but wasn’t spared from Florence’s high winds. The home is where Cole’s mother moved with her two sons after she remarried. Cole’s father was in the military and the family had lived in military housing before they split. Cole’s Dreamville Foundation bought the home in 2014 for $121,000, and he has said he wanted to use the 1,600-square-foot property as a rent-free home for single-mother families.

7:28 PM: The State reports at least half of South Carolina customers had their power restored on Saturday. As of 7 p.m., 64,274 S.C. customers remained without power, down from 174,000 earlier in the day, said Kim McLeod, the public information coordinator for S.C. Emergency Management Division,” the paper says.

“A lot of power has been restored today,” McLeod told reporters.

7:22 PM: A long line of vehicles form outside a Shell gas station in Wilmington, North Carolina, as residents struggle to find gas.

7:05 PM: Weather Nation reports that new thunderstorms off the coast of North Carolina mean a “big band of heavy rain” will head onshore. “Not good,” the news outlet writes.

6:58 PM: Fox News correspondent Johnathan Hunt provides coverage of Florence’s impact on Conway, South Carolina.

6:57 PM: Photos show the Neuse River in Kinston, North Carolina, is overflowing.

6:53 PM: A toppled tree in Wadesboro, North Carolina, is the latest example illustrating Florence’s wind strength.

6:43 PM: President Trump pays tribute to the deceased. “Five deaths have been recorded thus far with regard to hurricane Florence! Deepest sympathies and warmth go out to the families and friends of the victims. May God be with them!” the president tweeted.

6:33 PM: Highway I-95’s Exit 65 is blocked off in Godwin, North Carolina, as Florence batters area.

 

GODWIN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Traffic takes exit 65 from north bound I-95 after it was closed due to flood waters crossing the highway from Hurricane Florence passing through the area on September 15, 2018 in Godwin, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. It has since been downgraded to a Tropical Storm. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

6:28 PM: Senior FEMA regional administrator James Joseph says of the agency’s rescue operation: “This is still a response operation given the high waters we’re seeing throughout communities as well as additional rain that could fall in some areas.”

6:24 PM: Fox News correspondent Rick Leventhal reports on Florence’s death toll and massive flooding from Wilmington, North Carolina.

6:13 PM: Scenes from Washington Park, North Carolina, after Florence flooded parts of the area.

6:13 PM: The National Weather Service’s Morehead City crew is conducting the agency’s first storm survey. “We are measuring evidence of storm surge from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, at Bogue Sound, right at the end of the Atlantic Beach Bridge,” the National Weather Service tweets.

6:11 PM: WIS-TV News 10 meteorologist Dominic Brown says Columbia, South Carolina “dodged a bullet” as Florence lashes the region.

6:06 PM: WBTW reporter Teresa Galasso says North Carolina’s Lumber River could reach 19 feet and possibly break Hurricane Matthew’s record of 24.39 feet.

6:02 PM: Additional footage from rescue operations around the Carolinas.

5:56 PM: Authorities say three more people have died in North Carolina as a result of Florence, bringing the overall death toll to 11, reports the Associated Press.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has confirmed the storm-related deaths of an 81-year-old man in Wayne County who fell and struck head while packing to evacuate Friday. That agency also is reporting the deaths of a husband and wife in a house fire that same day in Cumberland County that is linked to the storm.

Authorities did not immediately release further details.

5:55 PM: President Donald Trump was briefed by telephone Saturday on Florence’s impact on the East Coast, per the Associated Press.

The White House issued a photograph showing President Trump seated at a desk in the residence holding a telephone receiver to his ear.

Vice President Mike Pence stood nearby.

5:52 PM: The top U.S. military commander for national defense says the slow movement of the storm is making it difficult to get more helicopters airborne for rescues in hard-hit areas, per the Associated Press.

The head of U.S. Northern Command, Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, tells The Associated Press that Marine MV-22 Osprey aircraft are preparing to launch off Navy ships heading toward the coast, to provide greater awareness of what’s going, particularly in North Carolina.

O’Shaughnessy says Northern Command is also using two airborne early warning radar and surveillance aircraft, flying above the storm, to assess bridges, roads and other infrastructure. The aircraft are also able to help relay communications from low-flying helicopters to the FAA if transmissions are affected by storm.

O’Shaughnessy says he expects helicopters and high-water vehicles will be the greatest need.

5:50 PM: Shock footage shows looters raiding a Family Dollar store during a live television broadcast in Wilmington, North Carolina. “In pictures sent to our newsroom, over a dozen people were gathered outside the Family Dollar, located at the intersection of Greenfield and South 13th streets, and appear to be taking items from the store,” reports WECT.

5:38 PM: Florence death toll climbs to 11.

5:29 PM: The Associated Press reports Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is warning residents in the southwest part of the state to prepare for flooding and possible landslides early next week from the remnants of Hurricane Florence.

The state so far has been spared from severe hurricane impacts, but the southwest portion of the state is expecting up to 12 inches of rain.

Northam said in a news release Saturday that emergency management officials are working to move people and commodities into place to prepare for flooding, including swift water rescue teams. Says Northam: “Now is not the time to let our guard down.”

Emergency officials in Virginia have also deployed 25 high-wheeled vehicles and 50 personnel to help with rescue operations in North Carolina.

5:28 PM: Transportation officials dealing with worsening roads because of Florence have a message for out-of-state motorists traveling through North Carolina: Please don’t use our highways, per the Associated Press.

State Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon made the plea Saturday, citing the continuing rains and expected flash flooding that has closed parts of 100 major roads.

A 16-mile (25-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 95 is already closed, and Trogdon expects other portions of the road to be shut down near Lumberton as the Lumber River’s levels rise there. And a smaller portion of Interstate 40 is shut down.

Trogdon says flash flooding on roads could continue for several days. He says he wants to prevent thousands of people potentially being stranded on the road sides due to sudden flooding.

He adds that North Carolina is working with officials in other states and with federal transportation officials to get the word out to motorists to avoid the Carolinas and find alternate routes through the neighboring states of Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia.

5:27 PM: The National Weather Service has updated its state rainfall record graphic in the wake of Florence.

5:23 PM: Sharing footage from around the Carolinas, The Weather Channel reminds viewers that water, not wind, “pose a significant threat from #Florence.”

5:22 PM: Officials say high-water rescues have been completed in New Bern, a North Carolina city swamped by flooding from Florence, per the Associated Press.

The city said in a statement Saturday that 455 people in all were rescued from Florence’s floodwaters. Waters began rising there late Thursday as Florence approached as a hurricane.

New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts says there were no significant injuries reported during the rescues, and there have been no fatalities in the city. She says a round-the-clock curfew is in effect until Monday morning, meaning residents shouldn’t be out on the streets.

Roberts said around 1,200 people were in local shelters Saturday.

She says thousands of buildings are damaged and calls the destruction “heart-wrenching.”

5:09 PM: Heartwarming footage shows a family and pet dog undertaking rescue mission in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

5:07 PM: WPRI-TV reporter T. J. Del Santo has the latest on weather conditions in the Carolinas as Florence wallops the region.

5:05 PM: All coastal storm surge warnings have been discontinued as Tropical Florence slowly plods inland, according to the Associated Press.

The National Hurricane Center says water levels along the Carolinas coastline were gradually receding Saturday afternoon, though some minor coastal flooding was possible through Sunday.

Florence’s heavy rainfall is forecast to continue, potentially causing catastrophic inland flooding. The hurricane center says some areas along North Carolina’s coast could see up to 40 inches of total rain by the time Florence passes through early next week.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Florence was barely crawling west at 2 mph, with its center located about 60 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Florence’s top sustained winds were holding at 45 mph.

Forecasters say Florence could weaken to a tropical depression late Saturday.

5:02 PM: Crew members of Tallahassee’s utility unit are en route to Conway, South Carolina, to help those without power.

4:58 PM: Residents of Warsaw, North Carolina, push a stalled Cadillac through floodwaters.

WARSAW, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: People push a vehicle that stalled as it passed through the flood waters crossing the road after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 15, 2018 in Warsaw, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

4:57 PM: ABC News shares time-lapse footage of sky as Florence moved into South Carolina.

4:47 PM: The Associated Press reports a herd of wild horses that roams a northern portion of North Carolina’s Outer Banks has survived Florence just fine.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund, a group devoted to protecting and managing the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs, posted a message on its Facebook page saying the horses were “doing their normal thing — grazing, socializing, and wondering what us crazy humans are all worked up over.”

Forecasts earlier in the week that showed Florence potentially making a more direct hit on the northern Outer Banks had many people worried about how the horses would fare. But wildlife experts had said there was no need to worry.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore tweeted Saturday that all of the ponies in another herd on Ocracoke Island were safe.

The Cape Lookout National Seashore said in a Facebook post that it would provide an update on a herd of horses at another location — Shackleford Banks — just as soon as staff could return to do condition assessments.

4:45 PM: A mandatory evacuation order has been issued in North Carolina’s Cumberland County and the towns of Linden and Wade for anyone living within a mile of the banks of the Cape Fear and Little rivers, according to the Associated Press.

Josh Kicklighter, a 23-year-old truck driver from Nicholas County, West Virginia, who moved to Wade two years ago, sat on his porch with his family Saturday and spoke of how the storm had knocked out his power.

Regarding the evacuation order, Kicklighter says the family would “probably stay” because “I think we’re pretty much out of the way of” the mile radius.

4:39 PM: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says his office has received “about 450 complaints” about price gouging. “The majority of them have to do with gas and the bulk of the rest are water and hotel rooms,” Stein told Fox News.

4:38 PM: Wilmington Police say they are aware of looting at a Family Dollar Store. The store’s management requestedd law enforcement not to intervene.

4:23 PM: Wilmington, North Carolina, firefighters rescue residents of Castle Hayne.

4:22 PM: The downtown area of Columbia, South Carolina is experiencing heavy wind and rain, reports WIS-TV News 10 meteorologist Dominic Brown.

4:17 PM: Weather Nation shares footage of Warsaw, North Carolina, as Florence clobbers area.

4:12 PM: Dodge minivan plows through floodwater on U.S. 74/76 Highway in Leland, North Carolina.

4:09 PM: The Associated Press reports the Outer Banks are experiencing some of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the world, nearly an inch a year. That rate is expected to accelerate as the oceans warm, sea water expands, currents weaken and polar ice sheets melt.

“Sooner or later we need to get out of there,” Orrin H. Pilkey, a professor emeritus of geology at Duke University, told The Associated Press before the storm hit.

Pilkey said Saturday that’s still “absolutely true.”

Forecasts earlier in the week had suggested things could be far worse, and North Carolina’s governor issued what he called a first-of-its-kind mandatory evacuation order for all the barrier islands.

On Saturday morning, authorities began allowing residents as well as workers and property owners to begin returning to the northern portion of the islands. Visitors were expected to be allowed entry to the same area beginning Sunday.

“They absolutely have started rolling in,” Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Hester said. Photos the county posted showed some traffic backups as local law enforcement worked to cycle cars through checkpoints.

A preliminary damage assessment showed about a half-million dollars of damage in Dare County, Hester said, a figure she said was “quite fortunate.”

Further south on Ocracoke Island, power was back up and there were no reports of serious structural damage, Hyde County spokesman Donnie Shumate said.

“Ocracoke is fine. It’s just a matter of getting to Ocracoke right now,” Shumate said. Ferries weren’t yet running to the island that’s accessible only by boat or air. Rental properties will be open, said Clark Twiddy, president of Duck-based Twiddy Realty, which has more than 1,000 rentals. But vacationers will have problems getting to the coast because of road issues, especially if they travel through eastern North Carolina to get there, Twiddy said.

4:04 PM: The Internal Revenue Service says victims of Hurricane Florence will get a grace period before having to file some tax returns and payments, according to the Associated Press.

The IRS said Saturday it’s offering the relief in parts of North Carolina and other regions designated a disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Upcoming September deadlines for certain individual and business tax filings and payments will be postponed until Jan. 31 next year.

That includes quarterly estimated income tax payments that would have been due next week, and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due Sept. 30.

The IRS says it will automatically provide relief for people with addresses in the counties designated a disaster area.

3:57 PM: The Guardian‘s Adam Gabbatt provides a storm update from Lumberton, North Carolina.

In Lumberton, North Carolina, the Lumber River is dangerously close to flooding.

Officials say the river is currently at 14.45ft and is projected to rise another 10 feet tomorrow.

I just drove across a small bridge on Caton Road over the river, which is flowing fast and at this location – south west of Lumberton, it has already broken its banks.

3:55 PM: USA Today caught up with a North Carolina resident who rode out the storm in his boat.

Masten Cloer — 57, of Hudson, North Carolina — stayed with his cabin cruiser named “Later” throughout the storm.

The boat is more than 40 feet long and was docked at Lightkeepers Village Marina in South Carolina, near the North Carolina border. The marina is located on the Intracoastal Waterway about 2 miles from the Atlantic shore of Cherry Grove Beach.

Though he admitted to some trepidation before the storm, on Saturday he said he and the boat were never in any danger.

“It kicked it (the boat) around some,” he said. “But I made it through.”

The winds at their peak, he said, sounded like “a freight train.”

The storm came ashore as a hurricane on Friday near Wilmington, North Carolina, located roughly 50 miles to the northeast of Cloer and his boat. Florence has claimed multiple lives, caused widespread flooding and knocked out power to nearly 900,000 homes in the Carolinas, according to poweroutage.us.

3:51 PM: North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says he received a phone call from President Donald Trump regarding Florence and “he assured us that they were going to do everything in their power to make sure that they were there providing the services.”

3:44 PM: Authorities in North Carolina have provided details about two weather-related deaths, per the Associated Press.

The Duplin County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page on Saturday that two people died due to “flash flooding and swift water on roadways.”

All but one of those deaths occurred in North Carolina. One victim died in South Carolina.

3:42 PM: The Associated Press reports many residents who evacuated North Carolina’s Outer Banks ahead of Hurricane Florence are making their way back onto the barrier islands, which were spared from the worst of the storm’s wrath.

The residents, as well as workers and property owners, were being allowed onto the northern portion of the islands beginning Saturday morning. Visitors were expected to be allowed entry to the same area beginning Sunday.

County officials and business owners reported relatively minimal damage, and there were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

While the Outer Banks survived Florence fairly unscathed, scientists say they remain incredibly vulnerable to future storms, climate change, and sea-level rise.

3:38 PM: A National Weather Service hydrologist warns that North Carolina and South Carolina could be flooded for weeks.

3:29 PM: North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest provides an update on the storm: “We’ve had some 350+ swift water rescues in different parts of the coast here.”

3:28 PM: Jaclyn Whittal, a digital meteorologist for The Weather Network, talks to residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, about some of the issues they are having with toppled trees.

3:19 PM: The Associated Press reports Hurricane Florence evacuees from the Carolinas are getting free tickets to watch the University of Florida’s football team play Colorado State.

The ticket office and athletic association at the University of Florida extended the invitation to evacuees for Saturday’s game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Gator officials say evacuees had to present a valid ID showing they’re from North Carolina or South Carolina.

3:07 PM: Residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, line up to purchase gas one day after Florence pummeled the town.

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2:59 PM: Florence has now killed a total of eight people, according to reports.

2:52 PM: Increasing risk of flash floods on Sunday as heavy rain pounds the Carolinas.

2:49 PM: In an opinion-editorial, Dr. Marc Siegel warns of various health risks associated with Florence.

Significant medical risks lurk in the floodwaters, especially with power lines down, which is one reason that the prodigious emergency response from HHS, FEMA, the National Guard, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and the American Red Cross among other many other groups has been so important. Beyond electrocutions, falling trees, and the risk of drowning, overflowing sewers, toilets, and displaced animals contaminate the floodwaters, which quickly become sources of multiple bacterial infections/diarrheal diseases and hepatitis.

People in the area may feel they are protected from floodwaters by rain gear, boots, and hip waders, but then they track the contaminated water on this apparel back into their homes. Debris and furniture and other protruding objects lurk below the surface of the water, causing falls, wounds, and fractures which are not easily treated because of the power loss and floods. Emergency responders have difficulty reaching patients.

Finally, as the floodwaters abate, people will be eager to return to their homes, and may do so prematurely, risking further injury and infection and asthma from the mold forming on the walls. Fear, anxiety, and stress are very common among displaced people without electric power, especially those with chronic health problems.

2:54 PM: Gov. McMaster gives an update on Florence, says “The evacuation order is still in effect for the evacuation zones.”

2:47 PM: Cumberland County, North Carolina officials provide updates on its mandatory evacuation as Florence continues to batter the area.

2:38 PM: Flood waters rise around homes in Warsaw, North Carolina.

WARSAW, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Flood waters surround a home after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 15, 2018 in Warsaw, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WARSAW, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Flood waters surround a home after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 15, 2018 in Warsaw, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2:37 PM: Power companies say at least 974,000 customers are without power throughout the Carolinas.

2:31 PM: Georgia Bulldogs fans each paint a letter on their back, spelling out “Pray 4 Carolina” in solidarity with those affected by the storm.

ATHENS, GA – SEPTEMBER 15: Fans of the Georgia Bulldogs send a message to those affected by Hurricane Florence during the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on September 15, 2018 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

2:27 PM: The Guardian‘s Khushbu Shah provides a storm update from Rice’s Creek, North Carolina.

Rice’s Creek is up 15ft since Wednesday, Alex Tatum thinks, standing where his girlfriend Mandi Dreeland stood just days before.

Only the tip of the sign is poking out from the water and in a few hours, it may be completely submerged. The rain hasn’t let up for the better part of three days, with huge log jams of water across all of the yards.

“Tim Buck and his family just left,” Nicole Tatum, 49, tells her son as she walks over to his house from hers, in flip flops and mascara, under the deluge of rain. She whips out a picture of an alligator on the bottom of the steps to the entrance to Tim’s backyard. The water has reached one of his buildings.

2:21 PM: America’s busiest highway, the I-95, is closed near Dunn and Fayetteville, North Carolina.

2:20 PM: CBS News shares accounts of New Bern, North Carolina, residents affected by Florence. “In the blink of an eye our street was flooded,” one resident told the news outlet.

More than 360 people were rescued from in the city from the rising waters. The city said in a Facebook post early Saturday morning that more than 100 people are still waiting for help.

Residents like Teia Cherry and her family decided against evacuating, but then came the water. A storm chaser with a boat rescued her.

“Fast. That’s all I can say, is fast,” Cherry said of how quickly the water came on. “Get somewhere. It’s in a blink of an eye. My cousin looked and he turned around in the blink of an eye our street was flooded. That fast.”

Boats and trucks helped hundreds get to dry land, including Sadie Marie Holt, who was rescued Friday.

“It was getting so bad that we physically took a boat we had in the yard and the neighbors, and we tried to leave about 3 o’clock in the morning,” Holt said.

2:13 PM: The National Weather Service shares graphic of Florence covering virtually all of South Carolina.

2:11 PM: High tide from Florence is thrashing Carolin Beach’s fishing pier. “Storm still dangerous!” warns WECT’s Jon Evans.

2:00 PM: WFMY News 2 complied some of Florence’s most memorable photos and videos.

1:51 PM: The Associated Press reports Clemson and Georgia Southern got a sunny sky, mild breezes and plenty of tailgaters at the start of the only major conference football game being played Saturday in the Carolinas and Virginia while Tropical Storm Florence dumped dangerous amounts of rain elsewhere across the region.

Clemson officials moved up the start time to noon from 3:30 p.m. because forecasts called for a more significant impact from Florence on Saturday night and Sunday.

By halftime, conditions were changing. Grey clouds hovered over the stadium, with the wind picking up enough to blow around papers and knock ballcaps off heads.

Around Memorial Stadium, it otherwise looked like a typical football atmosphere of orange-clad fans and tailgate tents all over. Not everything was the same, however, with temperatures in the 80s and light breezes sweeping the campus, which is about 250 miles from the coast.

“If this were a normal September game, it would be 90 degrees and 100 percent humidity, so this is great,” Steve Jones, a fan from Greenville, said as he set up his tailgate station.

Every other major school in the three-state region called off or relocated games earlier in the week as Florence, once a Category 4 monster, churned in the Atlantic Ocean.

1:48 PM: The Guardian‘s Adam Gabbatt provides a storm update from Conway, South Carolina.

In Conway, eight miles north of Myrtle Beach, the smaller creeks which run into the Waccamaw were already swollen and had broken their banks in some areas.

By Saturday morning a normally tranquil stream known as Crab Tree swamp was flowing fast and was just a foot from engulfing a bridge which provides north-south access to Conway.

David Hudson, a 29-year-old road construction worker who lives in Conway, had stopped his car on the bridge to film the water flow.

“I’m surprised this is that high,” Hudson said. “There’s usually walking trails down here. They’re underwater now.”

Hudson wasn’t overly concerned about his own home, which he said is 12ft above the flood plain. But having lived in this area a long time, he predicted the flooding would worsen over the coming days.

1:44 PM: Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin gives press conference on Florence.

1:30 PM: The Associated Press reports a mandatory evacuation order has been put in place for anyone who lives within a mile of the banks of North Carolina’s Cape Fear River and Little River.

Officials from Cumberland County, Fayetteville and the town of Wade issued the order early Saturday afternoon, saying residents there face “imminent danger” from flood waters expected to arrive in the area soon.

Residents are being asked to leave immediately. Officials said floodwaters from other areas are accumulating north of the county and filling the river basins beyond their capacities. They asked that the evacuation begin immediately and that everyone within the evacuation areas get out by 3 p.m. Sunday.

Seven emergency shelters are open in the county.

1:29 PM: Officials in South Carolina are reporting the state’s first fatality due to Florence, bringing the storm’s overall death toll to at least five, per the Associated Press.

A 61-year-old woman was killed late Friday when the vehicle she was driving struck a tree that had fallen across Highway 18 near the town of Union.

Capt. Kelley Hughes of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said the woman, who was wearing a seat belt, died at the scene. No passengers were in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

The tree was about 6 feet above the road surface. Hughes said the vehicle’s roof is what struck the tree.

1:25 PM: WXII 12 News meteorologist Michelle Kennedy shares the latest reported wind gusts from Florence.

1:21 PM: Resident of Wilmington, North Carolina, inspects his home after Florence thrashed the area.

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Mike Pollack and his wife Meredith Pollack walk away from their flooded waterfront home a day after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Mike Pollack searches for a drain in the yard of his flooded waterfront home a day after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Mike Pollack inpects the damage of his flooded waterfront home a day after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 15, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

1:09 PM: Photos show Queen’s Point condos in New Bern, North Carolina, damaged by Florence.

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Jerry King uses a dustpan to scrape mud off of his floors after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A photograph blown out of a person’s home lay in the flotsam after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A photograph blown out of a person’s home lay in the flotsam after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A resident holds up a photograph blown out of a person’s home after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Betty Dunton searches through belongings in her garage after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Jerry King uses a dustpan to scrape mud off of his floors after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: The courtyard at Queen’s Point condos is filled with residents’ belongings after the storm surge from Hurricane Florence tore open the lower floors with a four-foot high storm surge September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A section of a boardwalk is lodged inside a home at the Queen’s Point condos after Hurricane Florence tore open the homes with a four-foot high storm surge September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Tom Dunton searches through belongings in his garage after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Betty Dunton searches through belongings in her garage after a four-foot storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence ripped through the Queen’s Point condos along the Nuese River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

1:00 PM: U.S. Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters are recalled to Naval Station Norfolk to offer support as Florence rages.

ATLANTIC OCEAN – SEPTEMBER 15: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy,MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters from the “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7, attached to Carrier Strike Group 12 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), are recalled to Naval Station Norfolk, where they will be better postured to provide land-based rotary wing Defense Support of Civil Authorities if required in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Abraham Lincoln remains underway after Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered all U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to sortie on Sept. 10, ahead of the storm, which continues to bring high winds and rain to the Mid-Atlantic coast. (Photo by Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

ATLANTIC OCEAN – SEPTEMBER 15: MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters from the Dusty Dogs of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7, attached to Carrier Strike Group 12 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), are recalled to Naval Station Norfolk, where they will be better postured to provide land-based rotary wing Defense Support of Civil Authorities if required in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Abraham Lincoln remains underway after Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered all U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to sortie on Sept. 10, ahead of the storm, which continues to bring high winds and rain to the Mid-Atlantic coast. (Photo by Josiah D. Pearce/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

ATLANTIC OCEAN – SEPTEMBER 15: MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters assigned to the “Dusty Dogs” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7, attached to Carrier Strike Group 12 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), are recalled to Naval Station Norfolk, where they will be better postured to provide land-based rotary wing Defense Support of Civil Authorities if required in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Abraham Lincoln remains underway after Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command ordered all U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to sortie on Sept. 10, ahead of the storm, which continues to bring high winds and rain to the Mid-Atlantic coast. (Photo by Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

12:50 PM: According to the Associated Press, emergency workers went door to door urging people to flee Florence’s rising waters Saturday and rescuers used inflatable boats to pluck others from homes already submerged as the storm poured on the rain, setting the stage for what could be some of the most disastrous flooding in North Carolina history.

More than 2 feet of rain already had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on as Florence, a hurricane-turned-tropical storm, practically parked itself over the two states. Forecasters said another 1½ feet could fall by the end of the weekend.

Rivers and creeks rose toward historic levels, threatening flash flooding that could devastate communities.

“I cannot overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren’t watching for them you are risking your life,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Florence blew ashore early Friday in North Carolina with 90 mph winds, buckling buildings, deluging entire communities and knocking out power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses as it crawled inland and weakened into a still-lethal tropical storm.

Officials in North Carolina’s Harnett County, about 90 miles inland, urged residents of about 1,100 homes to evacuate because the Lower Little River was rising toward record levels.

In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to go house to house to remove people. More than 360 people have been carried to safety since Thursday night amid rising waters from a river swelled by both rain and salty storm surge.

A pet dog licked Johan Mackie’s face after he helped rescue Kevin Knox’s family from their flooded brick home. The Army sergeant was part of a team using a phone app to locate people in distress.

Mackie rode in a boat through a flooded neighborhood, navigating through trees and past a fence post to get to the Knox house.

12:41 PM: An alligator is spotted walking the streets of a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, neighborhood amid heavy rainfall.

12:34 PM: The Associated Press released an “explainer” on how experts measure rain during storms like Florence. In sum, the storm is turning out to be every bit as devastating as forecasters expected, and it’s far from done, with trillions of gallons of rain still in the forecast, hundreds of people needing rescue, hundreds of thousands of power outages and a handful of deaths.

BY THE NUMBERS

—Storm deaths: At least 4 people have died

—Heavy rains: Up to 18 trillion gallons (68 trillion liters) falling on seven states over seven days, as much water as there is the entire Chesapeake Bay

—So far: Nearly 24 inches of rain was reported in Newport, just off the North Carolina coast, and forecasters Saturday expected another 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) in parts of the Carolinas.

—In the dark: About 900,000 outages as of Saturday morning, mostly in North Carolina, with Duke Energy anticipating 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses losing power

—Protected: More than 19,000 people in shelters in North Carolina, 6,400 in South Carolina and 400 in Virginia

—Grounded: More than 2,400 flights canceled

—Potential losses: estimated $10 billion to $60 billion in economic damages

12:33 PM: Newly released drone footage shows dramatic flooding throughout New Bern, North Carolina.

12:29 PM: Tortoise expert Dr. Peter Paul van Dijk says, at 2 mph, a turtle could beat Florence in a race across the Carolinas.

12:25 PM: More scenes from a hurricane-torn New Bern, North Carolina.

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A boat lays smashed against a car garage, deposited there by the high winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence along the Neuse River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A boat lays smashed against a car garage, deposited there by the high winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence along the Neuse River September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: High winds from Hurricane Florence uprooted a tree, crushing a car and toppling a wall surrounding a baseball diamond September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: High winds from Hurricane Florence uprooted a tree, crushing a car and toppling a wall surrounding a baseball field September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: High winds from Hurricane Florence uprooted a tree which toppled a wall surrounding a baseball field September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: High winds from Hurricane Florence uprooted a tree which toppled a wall surrounding a baseball field September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

12:19 PM: Resident of New Bern, North Carolina, records footage of the damage Florence caused to his store.

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Bill Wheeler makes a video recording of the damge to his store, Nautical Wheelers, after the storm surge from Hurricane Florence filled it with four feet of water September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Bill Wheeler makes a video recording of the damge to his store, Nautical Wheelers, after the storm surge from Hurricane Florence filled it with four feet of water September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

12:18 PM: WLTX News 19 in Columbia, South Carolina, broadcasts eye-witness accounts as Florence thrashes the coast.

12:09 PM: The Navy says almost 30 Virginia-based ships and 128 aircraft sent away from their bases in the Hampton Roads-area because of now-Tropical Storm Florence have been given the go-ahead to return, according to the Associated Press.

The Navy says the aircraft will make their way back beginning Saturday, and the ships will start to return Sunday.

A Navy statement says the decision comes after inspections of the region’s port and airfield.

12:04 PM: At 30 inches, Florence has broken North Carolina’s all-time record for “most rain in a single storm.”

The Washington Post writes:

A citizen weather observer posted a total of 30.58 inches of rain in Swansboro, which is in Onslow County. If verified, the amount would be a state record for a tropical storm or hurricane and would shatter the old record of 24 inches — set near Wilmington during Floyd. Many locations in southeast North Carolina are likely to smash this old record by the time the rain ends.

12:01 PM: U.S. National Guard members go door-to-door in flooded areas of New Bern, North Carolina, to help residents evacuate. “A guardsman tells me most neighborhoods are empty, and a few residents are staying. Few requesting a ride out,” reports NBC News correspondent Garrett Haake.

12:00: More footage of deer navigating the storm in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

11:58 AM: Deer scurry through CBS News’ live broadcast of Florence in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

11:55 AM: Photos show boats docked in New Bern, North Carolina, left badly damaged by Florence.

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A tourist boat is run aground near a railroad bridge on the Trent River near the Bridgepointe Marina a day after Hurricane Florence made landfall September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: A section of the Highway 17 exit ramp remains closed a day after Hurricane Florence’s storm surge washed it out September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Residents stop to photograph a section of the Highway 17 exit ramp that remains closed a day after Hurricane Florence’s storm surge washed it out September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Boats, some listing and others completly sunk, remain in the destroyed Bridgepointe Marina a day after Hurricane Florence made landfall September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW BERN, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Rick Sitzman takes a selfie with the statue of a bear, the city’s symbol, that was dropped in the middle of the street by storm surge produced by Hurricane Florence September 15, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm Friday and at least five deaths have been attributed to the storm, which continues to produce heavy rain and strong winds extending out nearly 200 miles. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

11:49 AM: There are now at least seven Florence-related fatalities since Florence made landfall, according to ABC News. More details to come.

11:47 AM: An awning and garage collapsed on vehicles in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

11:44 AM: Spectrum News 13 reports Florence is presently located 40 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

11:35 AM: The Associated Press reports evacuation orders have been lifted in several coastal South Carolina counties as Florence continues to dump rain on the state.

Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order lifting evacuation orders for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and the Edisto Beach area of Colleton County effective at noon Saturday.

McMaster had ordered residents in most of the state’s coastal counties to evacuate ahead of Florence’s arrival. The slow-moving storm is still dumping colossal amounts of rain on North Carolina and parts of northern South Carolina.

Evacuation orders remain in place for Horry and Georgetown counties along South Carolina’s northern coast.

11:31 AM: Resident of Southport, North Carolina, surveys her home after Florence floods the area.

SOUTHPORT, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Kim Adams makes her way to her home that is surrounded by flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 15, 2018 in Southport, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

SOUTHPORT, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Kim Adams makes her way to her home that is surrounded by flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 15, 2018 in Southport, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

11:27 AM: Resident of Southport, North Carolina, looks out the door of his home as floodwaters rise.

SOUTHPORT, NC – SEPTEMBER 15: Matt Lineberry looks out the door of his home surrounded by flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 15, 2018 in Southport, North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina coastline bringing high winds and rain. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

11:24 AM: North Carolina transportation official warned “roads open today may be closed by this afternoon,” as Florence lashes the region. “I do anticipate tomorrow we’ll have a significant increase in the number of roads covered in water,” he told reporters.

11:17 AM: The National Weather Service has published an updated preliminary rainfall report of towns across the Carolinas. “Heavy rain continues in many of these areas,” the agency said.

11:05 AM: Tropical Storm Florence continues to weaken as it dumps dangerous amounts of rain across the Carolinas, according to the Associated Press.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence’s top sustained winds have weakened to 45 mph.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Florence was moving west at 2 mph, with its center located about 40 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The storm’s extremely slow speed means the risk of catastrophic flooding remains high across both states. Some areas are forecast to receive up to 15 inches more rain, and storm totals could reach over 3 feet in some areas for the week.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says areas like New Bern, North Carolina, could also see additional storm surge as high tide combines with the ocean waters still being pushed ashore by Florence’s outer bands.

10:53 AM: The Associated Press reports North Carolina’s Harnett County has declared a mandatory evacuation along a river that’s expected to rise to more than 17 feet above flood stage.

On its Facebook page, the county said the evacuation was in effect along the Lower Little River near the Cumberland County line.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the river to crest at Manchester at 35.4 feet at about 8 a.m. Monday. Flood stage is 18 feet.

The previous record crest was 29 feet set during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

The river is forecast to reach flood stage sometime after 2 a.m. Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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