"We're in a floodplain but a hundred-year one", he said as floodwaters lapped at the house's front steps.
The Coast Guard said it had 26 helicopters and 11 aircraft looking for people in trouble.
A power outage at a wastewater treatment plant in Wilmington resulted in partially treated sewage water being released into the Cape Fear River, said Reggie Cheatham, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Emergency Management.
As part of the Charlotte Hornets' continued effort to assist residents of the Carolinas who have suffered due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan is donating $2 million to organizations aiding in the relief and recovery efforts.
The dead included a one-year-old boy who was swept away after his mother drove into floodwaters and lost grip on him as they tried to escape their vehicle.
As of Monday morning, over 484,000 people in North Carolina do not have power.
Sputnik: Florence Death Toll Rises to 16 as Heavy Rains Ravage the Carolinas
Rising river levels threaten more closures, state officials said.
The rain finally stopped and the sun peeked through, but North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned that dangerously high water would persist for days.
The slow-moving storm, has dumped up to 91cm of rain on the state since Thursday, displacing thousands.
"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to", Cooper said. Winds reach 90 miles per hour, and some cities received over 25 inches of rain.
"We still are encouraging or asking folks not to come home", said Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County commissioners. The Cape Fear river is not predicted to crest until Tuesday or Wednesday, so there's no immediate hope on hand for residents.
Speaking with members of the press outside of the Craven County Courthouse, Cooper said state and local governments have to figure out how to rebuild their communities after the destruction of Hurricane Florence.
Utility crews from multiple states worked to restore power, and outages were down from a high of more than 900,000 to about 320,000 homes and businesses, almost all in North Carolina. One person was killed when Florence spawned at least 16 tornadoes on Monday in Virginia, where dozens of buildings were destroyed, the National Weather Service reported. "So to have other brothers and sisters that don't live here, that say we want to help you do that very thing - that's the church being the church".