"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news briefing.
The centre of the slow-moving storm, downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane after it came ashore Friday afternoon, was almost stalled over SC early Saturday, about 55 kilometres west of Myrtle Beach, moving west-southwest at just 8 km/h and scooping massive amounts of moisture from the sea.
Firefighters arrive at a home where a large tree fell on that had three people trapped, after Hurricane Florence hit the area, on September 14, 2018 in Wilmington, North Carolina.
A gust of 169km/h was recorded at Wilmington airport, surpassing the power of Hurricane Fran two decades ago. "The father was transported to (New Hanover Regional Medical Center) with injuries".
Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the U.S. Geological Survey said. In the state's Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.
The storm battered the coastline throughout Friday and Saturday with hurricane-force winds and as much as 2ft (60cm) of rain in some areas of North Carolina.
"A big worry about Hurricane Florence is that it's not acting like a normal hurricane", said Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina. "And since we're already on high ground, those two things together kind of help insulate us a little more than, I would say, others", she said.
There are also tornado watches in effect for some areas of eastern and southeastern North Carolina.
In New Bern, at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers in North Carolina, Florence overwhelmed the town of 30,000.More news: Packers’ Aaron Rodgers injured, leaves games on cart
Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds up to 195 miles. More than 360 people were rescued from the flooding by crews in boats, some flown in from NY and other areas of the US. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm will travel through upstate SC, be downgraded to a tropical depression, then turn north toward the Ohio Valley. The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach.
Rain is forecast to continue through the weekend, bringing unsafe flooding conditions to many areas of North Carolina.
The rising sea crept towards the two-storey home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro.
Satellites also continue to monitor Hurricane Florence as it passes over North Carolina to help meteorologists make more accurate predictions of how the storm will impact people living in the region.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, city officials posted photos of toppled gas pumps and a downed trees early Friday, warning residents to take shelter and avoid roadways.
New Bern resident Dan Eudy said he and his brother were awakened on Thursday night by the sound of a boat ramming against his front porch. She retreated and was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance. About 400 people have been rescued.
She said the shop, with an electric generator, was safer than their nearby home.
For people living inland in the Carolinas, maximum peril could come days later as all that water drains, overflowing rivers and causing flash floods.
"The worst of the storm is over", Wright tells TIME.