Right now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center is predicting that Florence will become a tropical storm tomorrow (Sept. 15) over SC, continue northwest to eastern Kentucky, then swing northeast and track over most of New England early next week.
The storm was a risky Category 4 hurricane Wednesday but was downgraded Thursday night to a Category 1 storm.
Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, near where the hurricane made landfall, said a mother and her infant were killed when a tree fell on their house.
More than 680,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state.
After landfall, Florence slowed to a pace that meant it would plague the area with days of flooding.
For people living inland in the Carolinas, the moment of maximum peril from flash flooding could arrive days later, because it takes time for rainwater to drain into rivers and for those streams to crest.
Authorities warned, too, of the threat of mudslides and the risk of an environmental disaster from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms. "Get prepared on the East Coast, this is a no-kidding nightmare coming for you". What's more, Florence's historic amount of rainfall may lead to flooding of pig manure lagoons, and the hurricane's winds and storm surge have the potential to damage nuclear reactors in the region, Live Science previously reported.
In Wilmington, near where the eye of the hurricane touched down, trees and power lines were down and many windows had been broken.
Roof shingles were peeled off a hotel.
"I firmly believe in Karma", said Foor, who helped rescue 100 victims after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Florence was set to cover nearly all of the state in several feet of water.
The water "is as high as it's ever been, and waves are breaking on my point, which is normally grass", said Copeland, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press.
In New Bern, the picturesque riverfront town and birth place of Pepsi, where the Neuse and Trent rivers meet, incoming Mayor Sabrina Bengel said hundreds had been rescued after residents began calling before daybreak as waters rose to rooftops. NY emergency workers reported rescuing elderly residents at a New River retirement community.
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.
North Carolina alone is forecast to get 36 trillion litres, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 25 centimetres.
"And it's just a Category 1 hurricane", Tarr said.
More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path.