UPDATED 2:05 PM PT – Fri. Sept. 14, 2018
Florence is downgraded to a tropical storm as it claims four lives in North Carolina and continues to bring torrential rain, strong winds and life-threatening storm surges.
A mother and her infant were killed when a tree fell on their home Friday, and another woman died from a heart attack when emergency crews were unable to get to her home because of downed trees.
Hundreds of people have been rescued and more than half a million are without power amid flash flooding, and downed trees and power lines.
Flash flood warnings have been issued in some areas, and mandatory evacuation orders remain in place.
Meanwhile, President Trump thanked First Responders in a tweet Friday, and also reached out to Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo, to establish a line of communication.
Incredible job being done by FEMA, First Responders, Law Enforcement and all. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2018
Rising sea levels brought on by Hurricane Florence trapped around 150 people in a coastal North Carolina town.
FEMA teams were deployed to the city of New Bern late Thursday night, to conduct water rescue missions for people trapped on roofs or in their cars.
City officials described the situation as dire on Friday, and urged residents to seek higher ground while awaiting rescue.
More FEMA teams are expected to arrive in the coming hours, as emergency calls continue to roll in.
Reports claim around 200 people were rescued overnight.