Dolphins swimming in flood water caused by Hurricane Florence

WATCH: Weather Channel Reporter Caught Allegedly Dramatizing Hurricane Winds, Gets Slammed Online

WATCH: Weather Channel Reporter Caught Allegedly Dramatizing Hurricane Winds, Gets Slammed Online

Some towns have already had over 2ft (60cm) of rain, and forecasters warn that totals could hit 3.5ft (1m).

The death toll from tropical storm Florence that made landfall in the United States east coast, has increased to 13, with authorities warning of continued rains and flooding. The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

The Navy says nearly 30 Virginia-based ships and 128 aircraft sent away from their bases in the Hampton Roads-area because of now-Tropical Storm Florence have been given the go-ahead to return.

"Residents should not let their guard down", North Carolina Emergency Management tweeted.

Florence flattened trees, damaged buildings and crumpled roads.

And on Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina.

Mother Lesha Murphy-Johnson and her baby, Zac, were killed after being trapped inside their home in Wilmington when a tree fell onto the roof at around 9.30am on Friday. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

Florence peaked at a terrifying Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph over warm ocean water before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. The price tag on the rebuild efforts for areas devastated by storm surge, which was expected to reach as high as 20 feet in some areas, was still impossible to quantify.

There is really nowhere for the water to go. Morehead City, North Carolina, had received 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain by Friday night with more torrents on the way. With Florence, it'll be the same amount of rainfall in three days. It said it was located about 50 miles (65 km) west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and forecasters predicted a slow westward march. Super Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit an area in the Philippines on Saturday that would affect 5.2 million people.

As Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical storm, continued to chart a path of destruction across North and SC on Saturday, school gymnasiums morphed into makeshift shelters for thousands of people displaced from their homes in nearby flood-prone areas.

Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.

Florence could become a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared past year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000. Then it will swing to the northeast in the middle of next week on a path to the Atlantic Ocean near Nova Scotia, where it will be an extratropical low with gale-force winds.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters that five deaths have been officially confirmed in his state, with several more under investigation. That's enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay or to cover the state of Texas in 4 inches. More than 26,000 hunkered down in shelters.

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters A downed tree rests on a house during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of Wilson, North Carolina.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River left 500 people in peril.

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