WITN is reporting two people were killed in Lenoir County.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, officials rescued about 60 people overnight from a hotel that was collapsing in the storm.
"We have completed all of our water rescues & want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who helped us save lives". Catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over portions of North Carolina and SC.
The Wilmington Police Department said Friday that the two were killed when a tree fell on their house. "I'm in chest deep water, I need help, I need you to rescue me", she says. "We don't have any right now", said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
More than a million people fled the Carolinas and Virginia as Category 1 Hurricane Florence neared. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
It remains a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour, but stronger wind gusts have been reported.
There is really nowhere for the water to go.
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. More than 3,800 federal employees, including more than 1,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are working with state and local partners to respond to the storm. Other communities got well over a foot.
South Carolina, in particular, is at risk for continued power outages as it has soft soil, and with the high winds, many trees are likely to be toppled and add to the mayhem.
The Hurricane Center is predicting "catastrophic" flooding in the Carolinas.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
Atlantic Beach on North Carolina's Outer Banks islands had already received 30 inches of rain, the US Geological Survey said, while more than 25 inches have fallen in the Newport, Morehead City area since Thursday. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 10cm of water, he calculated.
But it's not only North Carolinians who live along the coast who are being impacted by severe flooding.
Coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and at least 510,000 homes and businesses were without power, almost all of them in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.
The winds became less violent as the eye, no longer well-formed but instead welling with rain, passed over the city after it made landfall at 7:15 a.m. Trees went down, as did power lines, and streets filled with debris.
More ominously, forecasters said the onslaught would last for hours and hours because Florence was barely creeping along at 6 mph and still drawing energy from the ocean. Flooding from rain and rising rivers also was reported in New Bern.
In New Bern, Sarah Risty-Davis is one of the residents who opted not to follow a mandatory evacuation order that was issued three days ago.
"We're very familiar in Columbia with the flooding of 2015", McMaster said.
As rescuers battled strong winds and debris-filled floodwaters to pluck hundreds of stranded people from their homes, officials confirmed at least three deaths from the monster storm, while USA media reported a fourth.