Thousands of power outages due to Florence have been reported.
Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence September 14, 2018 in New Bern, United States. Heavy rainfall began after dark.
It is 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.
"With the extreme storm surge along the coast, rivers will start to overflow".
Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm - but the danger is far from over for residents of the U.S. East Coast. Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the electricity went out.
Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kph), the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.
Hurricane warnings, tropical storm warnings and flash flood watches are all in effect well inland, past Charlotte, North Carolina.
"It's important for people to know this is no ordinary storm and customers could be without power for a very long time". Both North Carolina and SC are updating their lists of emergency shelters for people caught by the storm.
Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches.
The "threat of freshwater flooding will increase over the next several days" in the impacted areas.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico previous year. Be SAFE! " Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
A surge is likely along portions of the SC coast. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.
Another local, Mike White, said: "We have two generators, plenty of gasoline, everything's filled up". "Because it's Mother Nature". Even as Florence falls apart over the weekend, the rain will persist. That's high enough to cover a house not on stilts.
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate and authorities urged them to get going before the streets become inundated.
The shelter had been set up in a school and was offering temporary refugee from the elements to around 400 people on Thursday, although it had a capacity for up to 1,200 in the popular seaside resort.
Another said she was watching the forecasts, and would be ready to pack up and leave at the last minute if she had to.
Florence's maximum sustained winds were clocked on Thursday at 100 miles per hour (170 km per hour) as it spun in the Atlantic Ocean, down from a peak of 140 mph (224 kph) earlier this week when it was classified as a Category 4.
Twice a day for the past week, Michael Sprayberry, the Director of North Carolina's Division of Emergency Management has briefed officials working out of the sprawling glass and steel building that is serving as the state's emergency response hub ahead of Hurricane Florence. But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster because of human-caused climate change.
The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm.
About half of all deaths in hurricanes come from storm surge. "We got thrown into mailboxes, houses, trees", said Holt, who had stayed at home because of a doctor's appointment that was later canceled.
Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house.