In one incident, a mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.
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. Rescue crews used boats to carry more than 360 people from rising water in the river town of New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbors awaited help.
Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, triggering risky flooding, toppling trees, cutting power to almost a million homes and businesses while causing at least six deaths.
New Bern's mayor said 4,200 homes were damaged in the city.
"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches".
A hilarious video which has gone viral on Twitter with over 10 million views shows a weatherman seemingly struggling to stand in high winds during Hurricane Florence - even as two men walk calmly behind him, apparently unaffected.
Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm with diminished winds, but it has stalled over the Wilmington region as predicted and will continue drenching the area with historic and catastrophic rain, the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. briefing.
In North Carolina, the city of New Bern was particularly hard hit. "And since we're already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others", she said. The coming storm surges and heavy rains will cause severe flooding that may submerge parts of the Carolinas in up to 40 inches of rain.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the area earlier this week.
Local authorities reported a death in Pender County when downed trees prevented emergency units from reaching a woman with a medical condition.
"I've been through hurricanes before", he says.
In Lenoir County, a 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords, and another died when he was blown away by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs.
More than 800,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said radar and rain gauges indicated some areas got as much as 2½ feet of rain, which he called "absolutely staggering".
"Great job FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement - not easy, very risky, tremendous talent".
"The cost to SC, if that happens, if the storm continues the way it is going, could be in the billions", Dahler said. They are part of Cajun Navy which is an informal volunteer group set up after Hurricane Katrina.
Florence made landfall early Friday morning as a Category 1 hurricane but weakened over the course of the day to a tropical storm. The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach.
There are also tornado watches in effect for some areas of eastern and southeastern North Carolina.
In Wilmington, near where the eye of the storm touched down, trees and power lines were felled and many windows broken. 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.
Flash flood are expected to his the south-east coast as the storm moves across land.
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