Firefighters and rescue crews in Wilmington, North Carolina stopped to pray outside the house where a fallen tree killed a mother and her 8-month-old baby. The father was also home, and he was taken to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment.
The hurricane was downgraded to category 1 on Thursday, meaning its winds are at least 74 miles per hour strong.
The enormous storm crept at a 6 miles per hour pace, making it clear that the trouble was just beginning.
Michael Sprayberry, director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management said at a news conference that more than 1,000 responders were working with more than 200 boats to rescue people on Sunday, 16 September, afternoon.
A woman named Bree tweeted: "If anybody could help. our cars is under water and so is our house stuck in attic".
Gibson said Friday that while she and her family were safe, she and her husband had gotten around 75 calls and texts from others asking for help.
Also of concern is the sprawling Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia and Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in North Carolina and at Parris Island in SC.
Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm pushes ashore early Friday near the North Carolina-South Carolina line and makes its way slowly inland.
The parts of the country still in the storm's path have been saturated by summer rains and can not soak up any surplus from Florence.
It has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm but continues to soak the East Coast area with rain, downing trees and damaging homes. Almost 2,100 flights have been canceled through Saturday.
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In the province of Benguet and Kalinga, at least 136 people have been evacuated, according to the civil defence office. The Pacific Daily News reported government agencies were conducting damage assessments and beginning to clear roads.
Numerous roads were closed, and authorities warned of the risk of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled.
"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Gov. Roy Cooper said. Residents mostly heeded police commands to stay home and off the streets.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats. Hurricane Matthew sent more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water into their home in 2016, and the couple feared Florence would run them out again.
"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".
Storm surge was as high as 10 feet on the Neuse River, he said.
"Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm", Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. "For overall damage, it would be hard, at the end of the day, I think, to find a rival for this storm".
In the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Florence, North Carolina's governor offered a series of dire warnings.
The personnel combined with other agencies to form the Tennessee EMS Ambulance Strike Team and the TEMA-Middle Tennessee Fire Chiefs swift-water rescue team.
Tornadoes are also a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC".
The southeastern coast of North Carolina and far northeastern portion of SC were expected to experience 20 to 25 inches of rain, but isolated areas could be hit with 30 to 40 inches, according to a National Hurricane Center advisory issued at 8 a.m. Friday.