Barricades block Highway 70 where the Neuse River has flooded the road September 15, 2018, in Kinston, North Carolina.
The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.
Stream gauges across the region showed water levels steadily rising, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels.
Jeff Byard, associate administrator for response and recovery at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said "24 to 36 hours remain for significant threats" from heavy rain, storm surge and flooding.
Glover speculated that part of the problem could stem from an "until I can get to higher ground and make sure my family is safe, I can't talk to media", mindset.
Florence's top sustained winds have weakened to 80kmh but it is projected to bring further catastrophic flash flooding. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said, and the governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain. "We're fortunate, but our hearts are in southeastern North Carolina".
More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.
The city of about 29,000, which was founded in the early 1700s, is near the North Carolina coast and is bordered on the east and south, respectively, by two rivers.
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As much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain could fall on coastal areas in North and SC, the National Hurricane Center said.
More than 22,600 people in North Carolina were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest University's basketball arena. Her 6-foot-2 husband went to see what he could do, but the water was above his chest, she said.
"If you are refusing to leave during this mandatory evacuation, you need to do things like notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible", Mayor Mitch Colvin said at a news conference.
"It's the worst feeling in the world to hear people yelling for help, and you can't do anything", she said. A 61-year-old woman died Friday night when her auto struck a tree that fell during the storm, state emergency officials said.
Coastal Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds will likely become bottlenecks, filling with runoff faster than they can drain into the ocean, he said.
Forecasters said that given the storm's size and sluggish track, it could cause epic damage akin to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago, with floodwaters swamping homes and businesses and washing over industrial waste sites and hog-manure ponds. Duke Energy, the area's biggest utility company, said that figure could rise to three million and restoring power could take weeks.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
"You evacuate from water", Cline said.