Storm Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut cause death and destruction

Rows of sandbags surround a home on North Topsail Beach North Carolina in preparation of Hurricane Florence. More than a

The 63-year-old former firefighter says he was able to sleep through the torrential rain and thrashing winds when then-Hurricane Florence made landfall early Friday morning, only waking up to texts he received at 7 a.m. from friends checking up on him.

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Friday.

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.

Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 30 centimetres to 1 metre as the hurricane-turned-tropical storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days.

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.

In New Bern, a riverfront city near the North Carolina coast that saw storm surges up to 10 feet (3 meters), authorities were rescuing stranded residents and taking stock of damages.

More than 100 people were rescued and up to 75 more were awaiting rescue on Saturday morning, according to a town official.

He said five deaths were confirmed from the storm in North Carolina and "several others are under investigation", and urged people to heed evacuation orders.

Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump an "epic" amount of rainfall on the U.S. state.

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Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at weather.us, said the storm will dump approximately 10 trillion gallons of water on North Carolina, about a quarter of the annual total. He added, with reference to the storm's glacial 2mph progress: "We know we're in for a long haul here".

With tropical storm-force winds swirling 350 miles (560 kilometers) wide, Florence continued deluging the Carolinas on Saturday morning after pushing surging seas far ashore.

Top winds were holding at 90 miles per hour - that's just a Category 1 hurricane - but some communities were already submerged in more than six feet of water as the storm drenched the coast. By Saturday afternoon, Swansboro, North Carolina had recorded over 30 inches of rain - and at least another foot was in the forecast.

The mother and her baby were killed in New Hanover County when a tree fell on their house, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told media late Friday.

"In about four days when all the water comes down from North Carolina, that's when we're going to have a problem". It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.

Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and SC ahead. She said medical staff is working 12-hour shifts, "which is their typical shift", and are being kept at the hospital until conditions are safe.

Gradual weakening was expected Friday night, the hurricane center said.

"Life-threatening storm surge will continue along portions of the North Carolina coast through today, and also along the Neuse and Pamlico Sound, where rainfall and fresh water flooding will also contribute to high water levels", the update read.

More than 800,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.

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