NORTH CAROLINA -- Florence is showing no mercy to North Carolina.
The slow-moving storm has virtually stalled, dumping relentless rain after making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm is being blamed for at least 13 deaths so far. And the waters are still rising, leaving entire communities flooded and people trapped in their submerged homes.
Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for many communities across the state. Nearly one million homes, and businesses, are still without power.
Even though Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm after it made landfall, it is proving to still be dangerous. Emergency responders have performed hundreds of water rescues. Many of those were in areas where mandatory evacuations orders were in effect. A representative for HEMSI says even though people might want to stay behind to protect their property, it's not the safe choice and it's a choice that could put others in danger.
Some areas are seeing record rainfall.
"Areas near Newport, North Carolina have seen nearly two feet of rain from Florence and powerful rain bands may produce another 15 to 20 inches or more," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) representative Steve Goldstein said.
Aerial footage show just how badly Florence has ravaged areas of North Carolina. Many counties had mandatory evacuation notices. Many people didn't leave.
One New Bern resident explained her reasoning. "I'm a nurse and I will be at work taking care of the patients like we're supposed to," she said.
More than 360 people had to be rescued in New Bern North Carolina alone.
HEMSI spokesperson Don Webster says even if you think you have a good reason for staying behind, doing so can dangerous for you and for first responders.
"It puts the rescuers and the first responders in harm's way," Webster said.
He says waiting out a storm can also deplete resources.
"It takes away from the people in other parts of the community that needs service. Let's say you have people inland that you know, they're still having heart attacks and medical calls," he said.
Officials on the East Coast are bracing for more dangerous flooding.
"It's the rain that effects and can kill you more than the wind can in a hurricane. And this is a massive storm that has put a lot of rain and a lot of water on our coast and inland." FEMA Associate Administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery Jeff Byard said.
They're asking people to stay put, don't go outdoors, and if you have already evacuated do not return to your home until it's cleared.
While Florence is weakening, officials in the Carolinas believe flooding will be an issue for the next several days. That's because it can take a few days for the rivers to crest.
North Carolina's governor is asking people to continue to be vigilant even if they think the storm isn't bad in their area.