The storm knocked out power to more than 890,000 homes and businesses, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the U.S. electrical grid.
Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday that Florence is "wreaking havoc" and he's concerned "whole communities" could be wiped away.
The father was injured in the incident and was transported to a hospital, officials said.
Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins confirmed to WWAY that a woman was killed in Hempstead, Pender County after suffering a heart attack in her home.
About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.
After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding. But the National Hurricane Center warned people of the hurricane's strong winds and its "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall" in an update Thursday evening. We will have tropical storm force winds and rain and storm surge continues to be our main concern with extreme flooding.
The NHC described Florence as a "slow mover" and said it had the potential to dump historic amounts of rainfall on North and SC, as much as 40 inches (one meter) in some places.
In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull dozens of people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse. Numerous evacuees took their pets.
Maysie Baumgardner, 7, and her family sheltered at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington as Florence filled the streets with floodwaters.
Shelters Fill Up As Hurricane Florence Bears Down
An intense wave, as well as heavy rains, will announce on Thursday on the coast of Las Carolinas, the arrival of Florence. Hurricane Florence has already proven to be not just powerful and destructive but wildly unpredictable.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m.
Twenty inches were reported by early Friday afternoon in the town of Oriental.
Florence is about 25 miles (45 km) north-east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), the Miami-based weather forecaster said.
"I firmly believe in Karma", said Foor, who helped rescue 100 victims after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Bertha Bradley said she has never favored evacuating ahead of hurricanes.
"The time to leave is running out, there will come a time when it will be too late and the rescue teams will not be able to come because they will also have to take refuge", warned South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
"Some say North Carolina is getting a break, but we are on the wrong side of this story", he said.
The White House said on Friday President Donald Trump would travel to the region next week unless his visit would disrupt cleanup and rescue efforts. He said all roads leading to his neighborhood were blocked by fallen trees. "It's insane", he said by telephone.