Hurricane Florence is being blamed for taking several lives in North Carolina, including that of a woman and infant child who were killed when a massive tree crashed through their modest brick home early Friday.
Government weather satellites captured this image of Hurricane Florence shortly after its landfall September 14, 2018.
These wind speeds place Florence at a category one hurricane, but despite the low categorisation, the amount of rain and strong storm surges mean extensive damage will be caused.
Yesterday, the European Space Agency released a short video of astronauts aboard the space station watching the storm out of the cupola armed with powerful cameras to capture its giant knot of storm clouds.
National Weather Service forecaster Brandon Locklear predicted Florence would drop up to eight months' worth of rain in two or three days.
On the mainland in New Bern, authorities said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater.More news: Wind approaches outer banks of North Carolina
Surges and flooding will reportedly continue as it lashes SC.
North Carolina's governor, Roy Cooper, said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.
More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing motel at the height of the storm.
But forecasters say Florence's biggest threat, as with all hurricanes, lies in its water: a storm surge of up to 11 feet and rainfall that will trigger catastrophic flooding.
New Bern is about 32 miles north of Morehead City, North Carolina, and 101 miles southeast of Raleigh.
The county had been conducting water rescues since Thursday, Parker said.More news: Ariana Grande Remembers Mac Miller with Heartfelt Tribute
Florence downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The city warns that people "may need to move up to the second story" but tells them to stay put as "we are coming to get you".
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7.15 am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometres) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles (315 kilometres).
More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire.
The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been moved to the city's public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.More news: How to Listen to Eminem's Diss Track Response to MGK - "Killshot"
It is expected to move across parts of south-eastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.