NEW BERN, N.C. - A day after blowing ashore with 90 miles per hour winds, Florence practically parked itself over land all day long and poured on the rain.
The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes. It said it was located about 60 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and forecasters predicted a slow westward march.
As of 5 a.m., Florence was 25 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.
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.
Officials found a basketball-sized hole in the hotel wall and other life-threatening damage, with some cinder blocks crumbling and parts of the roof collapsing.
"Right now we've rescued over 400 people".
Florence continues to bring rains and threaten lives on the east coast of the United States even after it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after making landfall.
"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Gov Cooper said.
Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree fell on a house in Wilmington, N.C.as Hurricane Florence came ashore, September 14, 2018.
"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said.
The National Hurricane Center described Florence's path as a wobble around southeastern North Carolina.
Emergency management officials and nonprofit groups aren't waiting for Florence's rains to end or floodwaters to recede before starting to help people recover from the storm.
"Surviving this storm will be a test of endurance, teamwork, common sense and patience". And many of those those fatalities occurred not while the storm is passing through but days and even weeks after the storm had already gone.
About 20,000 people hunkered down in 157 schools, shelters and a coliseum in Winston-Salem.
Prisoners were affected, too.
More than 800,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.
By Friday evening, the Cape Fear River in Wilmington saw storm surge flowing north being met with rainwater flowing west, giving the water nowhere to go. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and the tide rolled in.
Wilmington was battered by high winds and rising flood water as a pier was smashed by a huge wave. It happened in the coastal town of Swansboro.
In Washington, North Carolina, the wind-swept Pamlico River has risen beyond its banks and is flooding entire neighborhoods.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters that five deaths have been officially confirmed in his state, with several more under investigation. Now its maximum sustained winds are about 50mph (80km/h) and it's a tropical storm. "And we have 300 businesses that are damaged or destroyed".
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year.
In the clip, while Mike Seidel struggled to stand and report the storm at Wilmington, two men casually walked behind him in the background.
"We'll operate without power; we have candles".
Keyanna Snipe, the mother of Clemson left guard John Simpson, said her son anxious all week about how his family would fare near the coast in North Charleston.