Dolphins swimming in flood water caused by Hurricane Florence

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

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

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The storm, which made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday morning and weakened to a tropical storm hours after, caused massive damage across the USA states of North and SC by felling trees, splintering buildings, trapping hundreds of people, inundating communities and knocking out power.

The storm made landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the gloom of dawn Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

"We are expecting several more days of rain, and our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said as the relenting storm puttered slowly west near the SC border.

Almost three feet of rain has fallen on portions of North Carolina, a reported record for the state for rainfall from a single storm.

Duke Energy said Saturday night that heavy rains from Florence caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station near the North Carolina coast.

Tropical Storm Florence is expected to creep slowly through SC over the weekend.

More than 800,000 homes and businesses have lost power and Mr Cooper said the danger from flooding would linger for days.

A downed tree and water from the Neuse river are seen on a flooded street during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, on September 14, 2018.

The figure included a woman and her baby killed when a tree fell on their house, while a sixth fatality occurred in SC.

The White House yesterday said President Donald Trump had approved making federal funding available in some counties.

Trump, who plans a visit to the region next week, tweeted his "deepest sympathies and warmth" to the families and friends of those who had lost their lives.

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"Life-threatening, catastrophic flash floods and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern to central Appalachians from western North Carolina into west-central Virginia through early next week, as Florence moves slowly inland", the NHC statement read.

Southwestern Virginia is also expecting up to 10in (25cm).

Florence's death toll could rise as a number of deaths are being investigated to see if they were caused by the storm.

Forecasters said this onslaught could last for days, leaving a wide area under water from both heavy downpours and rising seas.

"The worst is yet to come", he added.

A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

On Saturday, its streets were strewn with downed tree limbs and carpeted with leaves and other debris.

"To make this work, we have to build dams to hold the floodwaters back off the road and keep the road operational", Hall said Saturday.

The coal-fired Sutton plant was retired in 2013 and the company has been excavating millions of tons of ash from old waste pits and removing it to safer lined landfills constructed on the property.

Officials had warned before the storm rains could taint waterways with murky coal ash and toxic hog waste.

More than 2 feet of rain had fallen in places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional 1½ feet before Sunday is out.

In New Bern, North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000 which is located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers.

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