North Carolina utilities have estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said.
In New Bern, North Carolina, the storm surge overwhelmed the town of 30,000, located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers.
Storm surges - the bulge of ocean water pushed ashore by the hurricane - were as high as 10 feet (3 meters). But Outlaw said on Friday morning it's "not a bad idea to get in your vehicle and get west of I-95" if residents feel they can safely do so.
Hurricane Florence has knocked out power for more than half a million people less than 24 hours after coming ashore in North Carolina.
Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain.
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At 800 AM AST (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located near latitude 14.4 North, longitude 54.1 West. However, it's not too late to prepare for Hurricane Florence - or any other storm that may move through Coweta County.
Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm, after barreling into North Carolina with damaging winds and heavy rain, leaving at least five people dead. Some other parts of SC could see rainfall totals of up to 15 inches, forecasters said.
The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday (September 15), then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.
The National Hurricane Center said a gauge north of Wilmington in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, reported 1.92 metres of inundation.
Florence already has proven deadly with its almost nonstop rain, surging seawater and howling winds, and the threats are days from ending as remnants from what was a major hurricane swirl over the Carolinas.
"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.
The storm made landfall just two miles from the point that the National Weather Service predicted five days ago, and has barely moved since.
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Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms.
Strong winds and heavy rain continue to present a danger, and Florence is now being attributed to several deaths.
Satellites will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Florence from space to make more accurate predictions about where it's heading next. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 10 centimetres of water, he calculated.
"Honestly, I'm not sure" why some people refused to follow evacuation orders, David Cotton, county manager for North Carolina's Onslow County, told "Good Morning America" on Saturday.
In Wilmington, numerous trees that contributed to its historic beauty are now gone. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".
Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house. She was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.
North Carolina seems to be the state that could bear the brunt of the winds, along with SC and parts of southern Virginia. In the Pacific, Olivia became a tropical storm again, on a path to hit the Hawaiian islands early Wednesday.
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A buoy off the North Carolina coast recorded waves almost 30 feet high as Florence churned toward shore. NHC Director Ken Graham said on Facebook the storm surges could push in as far as 2 miles (3 km).
Cooper cited a National Weather Service forecast that said almost the entire state could be covered in several feet of water. A fourth person reportedly was killed while plugging in a generator in the state's Lenoir County, according to USA media.
Calls for help kept coming in as the wind picked up and the tide arrived, said city public information officer Colleen Roberts. The town of 30,000 is bordered by two rivers and was hit hard by Florence. "The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.
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Meanwhile, many were experiencing a complete blackout as the storm damaged infrastructure, utility poles and transmission lines. North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches.
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Those who live in the typhoon's projected path and can not flee have been reinforcing their homes and stocking up on food. Authorities in the Philippines have said they were better prepared for the storm than in previous years.
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