Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds.
Five people, including an infant, were killed as Florence battered the North Carolina coast on Friday.
The fifth death, indirectly linked to the storm, occurred in Pender County's Hampstead community, Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins told WWAY.
Hurricane Florence, weakened but still unsafe, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge.
Reports out of Wilmington, North Carolina, said that the outer bands of wind and rain from Florence, a Category 2 storm with 105 miles per hour winds, are hitting North Carolina.
He said he did not know the family well but that the couple had multiple young children. "The water started rising and we evacuated nearly an entire TV station in about 15 minutes".
"Just because the storm is gone, it doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet", he said.
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"I think it's going to be a little worse than other people thought", he said, looking out over the beach.
Her mother flagged down a storm chaser with a boat who came to her rescue.
"When it comes around back, that's when I'll be making a call", he said.
On social media, residents have suggested donating to local school sports teams or high school band programs, but York County Public Schools have not made an official request for supplies, spokeswoman Katherine Goff said.
In Belhaven, the Pungo River roared into town, crashing up against homes at a waist-high level and higher late Thursday and early Friday, video from Amy Johnson showed.
She succeeded - staying awake all night, retying broken dock lines in howling winds. She died Friday morning.
"Pretty soon I had a hundred of my closest friends out here helping us out", Britt said.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, city officials posted photos * a href="https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleNC.gov/?tn-str=k*F" target="_blank" rel="noopener" *of toppled gas pumps and a downed trees early Friday, warning residents to take shelter and avoid roadways.
Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and unsafe. Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.
As it moves inland, the storm is expected to bring its high winds and intense rain bands across the southeastern corner of North Carolina and a large chunk of SC.