With flood waters advancing rapidly in many communities, stranded people were being rescued by boat and by helicopter, while tens of thousands of others hunkered down in shelters.
As it made landfall on the USA southeast coast on Friday, Florence buckled buildings, flooded entire communities and left more than 900,000 homes and businesses without power.
Firefighters arrive at a home where a large tree fell on that had three people trapped, after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.
"Life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern to central Appalachians from western North Carolina into west-central Virginia through early next week, as Florence moves slowly inland", the NHC statement read. "Don't drive across standing or moving water", the governor said, urging people to heed evacuation orders. In Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later cancelled.
U.S. media later said a man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs.
By tomorrow afternoon, the center of Florence is expected to be across western SC.
The White House on Saturday said President Donald Trump had approved making federal funding available in some counties.
The center of the hurricane´s eye came ashore at about 7:15 a. m. EDT (1115 GMT) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Nicholas Digregorio and his wife Danielle are stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Flash flood are expected to his the south-east coast as the storm moves across land.
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