Late Friday, a CBS News crew in Wilmington learned his family and his house were just as he left them.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.
"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
More than 1 million people had been ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia and thousands have moved to emergency shelters.
Hurricane Florence has weakened somewhat early Thursday as its outer bands approach the North Carolina coast, but weather officials cautioned that the storm will still bring life-threatening conditions.
A fallen tree lies atop the crushed roof of a fast food restaurant after the arrival of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.
Florence flattened trees, crumbled roads and the assault wasn't anywhere close to being over, with the siege in the Carolinas expected to last all weekend.
The hurricane has caused more than 555,000 power outages in North Carolina, with almost 65,000 reported in SC, according to website poweroutage.us.
Trinidadians in the Carolinas prepare for Hurricane Florence
More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate. Among those volunteers was the Cajun Navy, a volunteer rescue organization formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Shaken after seeing waves crashing in the Neuse River just outside his house in the town of New Bern, hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.
A video of Weather Channel's Mike Seidel battling wind gusts in the eye of hurricane Florence has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, after two men casually walking by in the background were spotted on live broadcast.
"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday.
A North Carolina city says about 70 people have been rescued from a hotel whose structural integrity is being threatened by Hurricane Florence. New Bern is about 32 miles north of Morehead City, North Carolina, and 101 miles southeast of Raleigh.
The hurricane center predicts as much as 101 centimeters (40 inches) of rain for some parts of North Carolina.
Charlotte-based Duke had posted roughly 96,000 outages in Carteret, Craven, Pamlico, Onslow and New Hanover counties, while the co-ops listed more than 74,700 outages in the same general area.
Duke has said it could take several weeks to fully restore power in areas that are inaccessible due to flooding.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.
Parts of North and SC were forecast to get as much as one metre of rain. Through the day, the storm's pace slowed even more, from 10 miles per hour Thursday morning to 3 miles per hour by Friday evening.