Flood waters rise as Florence pummels Carolinas; at least 8 dead

People braved the rain to put sandbags in Lumberton North Carolina.               CBS News

A day after Florence's landfall in North Carolina, water is shaping up to be the storm's deadliest impact - and the rains will only keep coming as flood damage mounts.

Rescue workers rush a man to an ambulance after a giant tree fell on a house in Wilmington, N.C.as Hurricane Florence came ashore, September 14, 2018.

Officials in SC said Saturday that the first fatality was confirmed in that state.

In North Carolina, at least five deaths are related to the storm - but "several others are under investigation", Cooper said.

Rescue personnel use a small boat as they go house to house checking for flood victims from Florence, in New Bern, North Carolina, Sept. 15, 2018.

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.

Cooper had a stark warning to any residents considering returning to their flooded home towns.

"Don't go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear", he said. This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall: "in some places, measured in feet, not inches".

The Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles Saturday to rescue hundreds of people trapped by Florence's shoreline onslaught, even as North Carolina braced for what could be the next stage of the disaster: widespread, catastrophic flooding inland.

He said residents should "expect flooding and potential landslides tonight and into Monday", and warned against driving in the water "no matter how confident you feel or how much you want to get out of the house".

In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina.

More news: 'Relentless' storm Florence pummels the Carolinas

More than 300 volunteers from nine U.S. states have joined the relief effort in North Carolina, according to ABC News. "We still have about 100 that want to be rescued and we have about 1,200 in the shelters", Mayor Dana Outlaw told CNN.

The dead included a mother and baby killed when a tree fell on a house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said, and the governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.

Roads became flooded, trees blown over and homes destroyed as some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges of flood water as high as 10ft.

The White House said President Trump will tour areas affected by Florence next week, once it is determined that his visit will not disrupt rescue and recovery operations.

Videos posted to social media show water gushing through the streets and carrying debris as winds cause trees to rip from their roots.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been lashed by torrential rains and near-hurricane force winds, CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reported.

The storm made landfall at Wrightsville Beach at 7:15 a.m., with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Rescue crews in Onslow County helped evacuate 70 people from a Jacksonville hotel early Friday after the roof collapsed and rain rushed in.

Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, after stalking the coastline for days.

The NHC also advised that general tropical storm conditions will be present in the region even in areas not at risk of flooding.

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