"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". "You rock! We couldn't have done it without you!" the city tweeted on Saturday.
Florence will weaken to a tropical depression later today based on the trend of lowering wind speeds, but the already-dangerous flooding in North Carolina will get even worse because the storm is only moving inland at 2 miles per hour. And that's when people found themselves trapped in their homes as the water rose.
Hundreds of residents were rescued on Friday, and the city was placed under a 24-hour curfew until further notice.
"We're fairly confident there is at least a good chance of moderate flooding", he said. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the authorities in New Bern said on Twitter.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door to door to pull more than 60 people out as the Triangle Motor Inn began to crumble.
It was initially unclear how many people ended up being rescued. Also of concern were more than three dozen coal ash dumps at power plants in the region.
Sixty-seven-year-old Sadie Marie Holt was among those rescued Friday. "I love hurricanes. But this one has been an experience for me", she said.
On its Facebook page, the county said the evacuation was in effect along the Lower Little River near the Cumberland County line. As we get closer toward the middle of next week, Florence's remnants should be near or spreading across our area.
Also of concern is the sprawling Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia and Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in North Carolina and at Parris Island in SC.
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Storm Florence may have weakened but the full extent of the damage it has wreaked may not become clear for days.
In North Carolina, unrelenting rains were expected to swell the Cape Fear River to 62 feet next week, 3 feet higher than during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
The number of service members deployed include 7,500 from the US Coast Guard and 6,500 from the National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order lifting evacuation orders for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and the Edisto Beach area of Colleton County effective at noon Saturday.
As of noon, Emerald Isle had more than 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain, and Wilmington and Goldsboro had about a foot (30 centimeters). About 40 minutes later, he woke and went to a sun room, where he'd boarded up all the windows except for a small hole.
"I'll tell you, this one is so widespread, you're going to have a hard time finding a North Carolinian who is not going to be affected by this storm in some way", Cooper said. "These were waves crashing down".
A mother and baby were killed after a large tree fell on their home in Wilmington, while in Pender County a woman died of a heart attack after storm debris prevented paramedics from reaching her. But there are impacts at 35 feet, which is why flood stage is at 35 feet.