The worst natural disaster in North Carolina history was Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which dumped almost 2 feet (60 centimeters) of rain and flooded a broad swath of the coastal plain, swamping whole towns and dozens of hog farm lagoons containing millions of gallons (liters) of untreated urine and feces.
Across the Trent River from New Bern, Jerry and Jan Andrews returned home after evacuating to find carp flopping in their backyard near the porch stairs.
"Even though the storm has been downgraded to a tropical storm, you can see we are getting hit here in Myrtle Beach", NBC News correspondent Tammy Leitner reported Friday.
Despite the combined efforts of those first responders, the mother and her infant became not only the first fatalities of Hurricane Florence, but also proof that there is nowhere totally safe in a storm like Florence.
An infant including atleast five people were killed in the USA state of state of North Carolina as hurricane Florence made landfall. Power outages are widespread including over 740,000 in North Carolina and 163,000 in SC.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working with storm-struck states and is ready to respond to any breaches, a spokeswoman, Maggie Sauerhage, said.
Florence is expected to slowly move west-southwest through early Saturday.
About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm. "Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days". "In addition to the ongoing, risky storm surge and flash flooding, will be a long-term river flood threat WELL INLAND as very heavy rainfall continues to fall in the coming days".
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.
Cline said July was the wettest ever in that part of North Carolina, and the water table rose 21 inches higher than normal.
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States. Image AAP
There are 62 industrial hog farms within North Carolina's 100-year floodplain, environmentalists estimate, and Duke Energy Corp has four coal ash sites in the coastal area touched by Florence.
Heavy rains: Up to 18 trillion gallons falling on seven states over seven days, as much water as there is the entire Chesapeake Bay.
More than 2 feet (60 centimeters) of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet (45 centimeters) by the end of the weekend.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m.
Firefighters in Wilmington gathered outside the house to pray for the family. The number of people still not rescued fell to about 40 by Friday afternoon, according to New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw.
"As a state, we have put our head in the sand", Representative Pricey Harrison said. "We're going to have to have patience, we're going to have to be careful and we're going to have to deal with a lot of water".
Police said 150 to 200 residents have been rescued earlier on Friday and 150 or more were still awaiting rescue.
Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith did manage to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and the experience left her shaken.
"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".
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