In the agricultural town of Burgaw, about 26 miles north of Wilmington, the swollen Northeast Cape Fear River and various creeks connected to it poured into streets and slipped into homes.
While Florence is, as of 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, now "just" a tropical storm, it has still ripped the Carolina coast with heavy winds and record-breaking rainfall, causing widespread damage for humans and wildlife alike.
US power companies said more than 870,000 homes and businesses, mostly in North Carolina and SC, were without power on Saturday after Florence hit the Southeast coast. Some other parts of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said.
"Hurricanes bring out a lot of good in people and also the worst in those few bad actors preying on homeowners whose most prized asset has been damaged", Jon Moore, spokesman for Florida's Department of Financial Services, told the Miami Herald following Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, triggering risky flooding, knocking out power in almost 900,000 homes and businesses, and causing at least eight deaths.
As Florence drew near, President Donald Trump tweeted that FEMA and first responders are "supplied and ready", and he disputed the official conclusion that almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico, claiming the figure was a Democratic plot to make him look bad.
The figure included a woman and her baby killed when a tree fell on their house, while a sixth fatality occurred in SC. A 78-year-old man connecting extension cords in the rain was electrocuted, according to Roger Dail, the Lenoir County director of emergency services. The man's family found his body Friday morning, according to Dail. In Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.
Meanwhile, in SC, at least one gator seemed to be cool with the outer bands of wind and rain that whipped the Myrtle Beach area. Although the storm is passing north of Myrtle Beach, the concern now is that river water from North Carolina will flow into the area and combine with all the water that is already there.
As it made landfall on the United States southeast coast on Friday, Florence buckled buildings, flooded entire communities and left more than 900,000 homes and businesses without power. More ppl now face a threat than when the storm was offshore.
Thousands of the 20,000 people staying in more than 150 shelters this weekend and others waiting it out elsewhere won't be able to return to their homes for good any time soon.
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. That's enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay or to cover the state of Texas in 4 inches. That means the storm could easily drop 40 inches of rain in some spots.
Water was rising Saturday morning in a flood plain near the Waccamaw River, lapping up against homes and pooling over at least one main road. The river is forecast to crest more than three feet above its previous record set during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, when much of the same area experienced devastating floods. "Nobody expected this", a rescued resident, Tom Ballance, toldThe Weather Channel. Gov. Roy Cooper warned, describing day after day of disastrous weather to come.
Gusts reached over 100 miles per hour - the highest recorded in North Carolina since 1958.
23 aviation rescues, and counting.
With close to 90 of the state's 100 counties setting up their emergency management offices for this storm, all signs point to an even longer recovery from Florence. Super Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit an area in the Philippines on Saturday that would affect more than 5 million people.