The storm is moving slowly west at 8 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour.
At 5 am Sunday, Florence was about 20 miles (35 kilometers) southwest of Columbia, South Carolina.
Authorities evacuate a family from rising waters caused by Florence, now a tropical storm in New Bern, N.C., on September 15, 2018.
Florence is forecast to creep along eastern SC through Saturday, dumping lots of water and lashing the region with winds. North Myrtle Beach had around 7 inches. Forecasters Saturday expected another 15 inches (nearly 40 centimeters) in parts of the Carolinas.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned Saturday that the volume of rainwater Florence will drop in the coming days may cause flooding not seen at least in a generation.
The heaviest rains were falling on the north edge of the storm, so North Carolina was getting the worst of it.
Kenneth Campbell had donned waterproof waders intending to check out his home in Lumberton, but he didn't bother when he saw the Coast Guard and murky waters in his neighborhood. But with half of the storm still out over the Atlantic, Florence continued to collect warm ocean water and dump it onshore.
Florence is now the third storm to set a tropical cyclone state rainfall record in just the last 12 months.
Florence also now stands as the sixth-highest tropical cyclone rainfall total across the USA for records dating back to 1950.
On Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington. Another 30 sites in North and Carolina had at least 10 inches (25 centimeters). It was downgraded from a hurricane late Friday, but not before bringing catastrophic flooding to the Carolinas.
He urged against residents attempting to return home, warning that "all roads in the state are at risk of floods". Rivers will continue to rise days after the rain has stopped, he said.
By the storm's end, up to 40 inches will fall in southeastern North Carolina and the northeastern tip of SC, the National Hurricane Center said. Hall says those bridges are in areas that experienced significant flooding after 2016's Hurricane Matthew. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said officials were focused on finding people and rescuing them.
Jeff Pyron, left, and Daniel Lilly cover Lilly's roof after Hurricane Florence hit Davis N.C., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.
The Philippines has also been hit by storms, with 12 dead in Typhoon Mangkhut.
Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin told people living within a mile of the region's main river, the Cape Fear, or the nearby Little River, that they had until 3 p.m. Sunday to get out. It went up 5 feet overnight and was at 17.6 feet, more than 4 feet above flood stage, by Saturday night.
All roadways in the state are at varying degrees of risk for flash flooding through Sunday, with major river flooding anticipated into early next week. Dozens of electric fix trucks massed to respond to damage expected to hit central North Carolina as rainwater collected into rivers headed to the coast.
As the Carolinas get battered by Hurricane Florence, a number of key and often confusing terms that have suddenly entered the public consciousness could use some explaining.
They warned that Florence would likely slow down and meander along the coast. The track shows Florence moving west through Sunday, and then gradually turning north by Monday.
It is expected to weaken gradually as it moves inland, heading northwards through the OH valley by Monday. Totals could exceed 4 inches locally for inland NY and MA.