The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned that life-threatening storm surges - in which water is pushed by a storm over land that would normally be dry - and catastrophic freshwater flooding were still expected.
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, had around 7 inches. The storm was once a powerful Category 4 storm but became a slow-moving Category 1 storm when it made landfall near Wrightsville, North Carolina, on Friday.
North Carolina corrections officials said more than 3,000 people were relocated from adult prisons and juvenile centers in the path of Florence, and more than 300 county prisoners were transferred to state facilities.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence's top sustained winds were holding at 45 miles per hour (75 kph), with higher gusts east of the storm's center.
Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center is predicting that Florence will become a tropical storm tomorrow (Sept. 15) over SC, continue northwest to eastern Kentucky, then swing northeast and track over most of New England early next week.
But for many residents in the low-income communities most threatened by the storm's wake of devastation, evacuation was never a possibility.
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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.More news: Watch Hurricane Florence Make Landfall in This Incredible Space Station Video
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In an update published at 5:33 a.m. ET on Saturday, the agency said that the storm is now striking SC and has a path through the in-land charted for the next few days.
View of Florence in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday. The storm knocked out power to almost 930,000 homes and businesses, and the number could keep rising. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay, or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches of water.
On Saturday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned of "epic" levels of rainfall. The southeast town of Newport, N.C., reported a rainfall total of nearly 24 inches as of midnight Saturday.
New Bern, which has a population of about 30,000, was once the capital of the state's colonial government.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday.
Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighbourhood during Florence's assault.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard ... We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled. Rescue crews have used boats to reach hundreds of people trapped by the rising waters. What they found, however, were two dogs and two cats in dire straits.