Despite its weakening Sunday from a tropical storm, its relentless rain drenched already saturated areas as authorities warned the danger is far from over.
A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour winds, more than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet by the end of the weekend. The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to rise over their banks, flooding cities and towns.
According to the Associated Press, the city of Wilmington, NC, has been completely cut off by floodwaters and officials are asking for additional help from state law enforcement and the National Guard.
A day after blowing ashore with 90 miles per hour (145 kph) winds, Florence practically parked itself over land all day long and poured on the rain. Another person was arrested for allegedly looting an Exxon gas station and convenience store.
In one piece of good news, authorities said 16 wild ponies on hurricane-struck Ocracoke Island, located off the North Carolina coast, were safe. Some other parts of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said.
A woman and her baby were among the first casualties, when a tree fell on their house, contributing to a death toll that the USA media said had reached 13-10 in North Carolina and three in SC, according to CNN.
Heavy rain is expected to continue in North and SC over the next few days.
The doors of many homes suffered so much wind damage they appeared to have been kicked in, while the city's beloved fiber-glass bear statues, which are sponsored by local businesses, were floating down streets.
United States media later said a man in Lenoir County died after heavy winds knocked him down as he tried to check on his dogs.
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Three more people died in Duplin County due to flash flooding, according to a post on the sheriff's department's Facebook page. "More and more inland counties are issuing mandatory evacuations to get people to safety quickly". SC recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle hit a tree that had fallen across a highway. A man and woman died in Horry County due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to SC officials.
Florence has weakened into to tropical depression but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas.
North Carolina is bracing for what could be the next stage of the still-unfolding disaster: widespread, catastrophic river flooding from Florence.
Computer models mostly show the remnants of Florence tracking into western North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, before making a sharp turn to the north/northeast as the storm begins to get picked up by the jet stream over North America. 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.
Corey Walters, the city's deputy director of public works, said this was a worst-case storm scenario.
"There are no roads. that are leading into Wilmington that are passable because of the flooding that is taking place now inland", Saffo said. "There have been hundreds of rescues".
Authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within a mile (1.6 kilometers) of a stretch of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the North Carolina coast.
Still, spirits were high at the Trent Park Elementary School in New Bern, where 44-year-old Cathy Yolanda Wright took shelter after being rescued from her flooded home Saturday.
Officials have declared states of emergency in several states, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.