Federal officials halt immigration arrests during Hurricane Florence

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Eduardo Munoz / Reuters Water from the Neuse river floods houses during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina.

Tropical Storm Florence dumped "epic" amounts of rain on North and SC as it trudged inland on Saturday, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as flood waters that have devastated many communities kept rising.

Along with this projection, NHC warned of "life-threatening" storm surges and floods throughout both North Carolina and SC. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

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.

"We're in God's hands", said Rick Foreman, pastor at West Lumberton Baptist Church, as the Lumber River steadily rose Friday and local residents filled sandbags.

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By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75mph, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.

In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to reach people. "Extensive, prolonged flooding of rivers and creek flooding will also occur".

"If they have a really red, angry infection that makes them feel really, really bad, you have a situation where they need to seek medical help as quickly as possible", Noble said.

Florence already has proven deadly with its almost nonstop rain, surging seawater and howling winds, and the threat is days from ending as remnants of the once major hurricane slowly creep inland across the Carolinas. SC recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her auto hit a tree that had fallen across a highway.

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

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"Many people who think the storm has missed them have yet to see its threat", he said, adding: "Don't go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear". Mike Doll, Senior Meteorologist at Accuweather said the winds will continue to slow down over the weekend and the main problem moving forward will be flooding due to heavy rains.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is giving another update on the state's response to Tropical Storm Florence. It is forecast to crawl through SC into Saturday before turning west and then north across the western Carolinas and toward the Ohio Valley by Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. A husband and wife died in a house fire linked to the storm, officials said, and an 81-year-old man died after falling and hitting his head while packing to evacuate.

A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. 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. Although the storm is passing north of Myrtle Beach, the concern now is that river water from North Carolina will flow into the area and combine with all the water that is already there.

Some local residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit early on Friday.

President Trump's disaster declaration for eight North Carolina counties frees up federal funding including grants for property repairs and low-priced loans to cover uninsured losses.

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"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern.

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