By G9ija

As North Carolina residents navigated heavy rain and rising floodwaters that in some places could double the 10 to 20 inches that have fallen so far, neighboring South Carolina was bracing overnight for the brutal wallop of widespread flash flooding, mad, whipping wind and relentless rainfall that crept across the border into the eastern half of the state before dawn.

Florence, which weakened from a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall early Friday morning to a tropical storm, is expected by Saturday evening to be downgraded to a tropical depression — but the torrential rain shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.

Seven people were reported dead in the storm, including a mother and her baby killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, by a falling tree. Officials in Carteret County, North Carolina, announced on Saturday morning that two people had died on Harkers Island.

Dozens of North Carolina residents, as well as nine animals, were rescued Friday night into early Saturday morning in the state’s third-largest county, Cateret, according to a county EMS spokesperson.