Death toll rises to 7 as Florence pours on the rain

'Relentless rains' continue as Florence nearly stalls over Carolinas

Florence continues to bring rains and threaten lives on the east coast of the U.S. even after it was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm after making landfall.

Water levels along the North and SC coasts are gradually receding as of Saturday night, the National Hurricane Center said.

Officials in New Bern said more than 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.

Downgraded to a Tropical Storm, its core is now drifting westward over SC, threatening more flash floods and major river flooding.

Officials said flood waters from other areas are accumulating north of the county and filling the river basins beyond their capacities.

Warning of the storm's continued threat to life, Governor Roy Cooper said: "More people now face imminent threat than when the storm was offshore".

The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, as well as Washington D.C., declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm. Though the popular North Carolina tourist destination seems to have been spared the worst of Florence's wrath, the islands still have some of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the world, almost an inch a year.

The National Hurricane Center said as much as 40in (102cm) was expected on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.

A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at almost 170km/h, the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

Roads were closed and authorities warned of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled.

Photos and videos from around the region, and particularly North Carolina, showed the power that Florence contained as it came ashore, leading to rescues across the area. The storm knocked out power to almost 930,000 homes and businesses, and the number could keep rising.

"Floyd stands as North Carolina's greatest natural disaster of record to date". Forecasters said the torrents could continue for days, touching off disastrous flooding. Floyd produced 24 inches of rain in some parts of the state, while Florence has already dumped about 30 inches in areas around Swansboro.

Scores of residents had to be rescued from flooding by emergency responders and volunteers in New Bern, North Carolina, on Saturday.

The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach.

Flooding has made things hard in Hurricane Florence's aftermath. Later, Trump tweeted his condolences, writing, "Deepest sympathies and warmth go out to the families and friends of the victims".

"I don't see any portion of the state of North or SC that's not going to be impacted in some way", said Cline.

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.

Heavy rains will continue to fall in the Carolinas and heavier rains are expected to spread into western parts of North Carolina, in addition to some parts of eastern Tennessee and eastern Georgia, Doll said.

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