Hurricane Florence hit parts of Carolinas hard Thursday and Friday, and while many people evacuated these two men say that a lot of animals were left behind.
About 10 million people could be affected by the storm. Tropical Storm Force winds extend 175 miles from the center.
Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 1 to 3½ feet (30 centimeters to 1 meter) as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days. However, the main risk is, and always has been, life threatening flooding.
A fallen tree lies atop the crushed roof of a fast food restaurant after the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.
100 miles per hour winds raged as the storm made landfall.
Ocean water inundation may diminish, the flood threat from heavy rain will continue: "This storm will be a marathon vs. a sprint", the National Weather Service said.
About 600,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina.
But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind. The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to overrun their banks, possibly flooding cities and towns.
"We are expecting several more days of rain and our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger and then we will shift to putting our communities back together", Cooper said Friday.
The downtown area, at the confluence of two rivers, is mostly underwater.
About 1,600 animals at the North Carolina Zoo are hunkered down, with zoo workers moving swiftly to get elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and hundreds of other species indoors to safety.
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Florence on the eastern coast of the United States. Image AAP
A gas station damaged by the storm in North Carolina, 14-09-2018. Her 6-foot-2 husband went to see what he could do, but the water was above his chest, she said.
The company hasn't yet determined whether any contamination entered the Cape Fear River.
More than 760,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.
Residents reached out for help through the night by phone and on social media. "Houses. Trees", Holt said. When they got to the home, the woman was dead, authorities said. But thousands of buildings were damaged in destruction Roberts called "heart-wrenching".
Coast Guard helicopters were taking off across the street to rescue stranded people from rooftops and swamped cars. "So we made a decision to stay", she said.
And Marines rescued about 20 civilians from floodwaters near Camp Lejeune, using Humvees and amphibious assault vehicles, the base reported. Although the storm is now a Category 1 hurricane, it is still dumping feet of rain over coastal communities.
"If it goes up to my front step, I have to get out", Quinton Washington said.
In some areas of southeastern North Carolina officials had measured rainfall totals exceeding 16 inches (41 centimeters), warning that some areas could see totals up to 40 inches.
Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, the sheriff's office said.
The storm's movement, not its strength, has forecasters and officials anxious.
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President Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia , opening the way for federal aid. Directly in the path of the storm are 8 nuclear power plants, located in North Carolina and SC .
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Dramatic photos show the carnage at the scene, including quickly rising flood waters set to submerge a pair expensive sports cars. The storm also knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers and that number is expected to rise.
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