The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence broke a North Carolina rainfall record that had stood for nearly 20 years: Preliminary reports showed Swansboro got more than 30 inches (75 centimeters) and counting, obliterating the mark set in 1999, when Hurricane Floyd dropped just over 24 inches (60 centimeters) on the state. Also, one person was killed while plugging in a generator, and a man was knocked to the ground while outside and died, authorities said.
"Into next week our rivers are going to continue to rise and there will be more significant flooding", Cooper said.
Local firefighters had already saved the father inside, but a mother and her baby were still trapped in the home. Officials believe he died of a cardiac event when he went outside to check on his hunting dogs late Thursday night, according to the NC State Emergency Response team.
Two men in their 70s were killed in Lenoir County.
"Our preparation is now having to turn to determination and we're going to work hard to recover and recover quickly", Cooper said. By 2 p.m., more than 658,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, and the Triangle had begun to experience outages. His body was discovered by family members.
"Great job FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement - not easy, very risky, tremendous talent".
The storm surge of up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) will be "life threatening" and rainfall of up to 40 inches (101.6 cm) will mean "catastrophic" flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center. Our main worry is water and flooding.
"We're deeply concerned for whole communities which could be wiped away".
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Some steadfast residents to stay put as Hurricane Florence approaches
Wednesday, Florence was 435 miles from Wilmington, N.C., moving northwest at 16 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center . Stay weather our around the clock coverage of Hurricane Florence on Spectrum News for the latest information .
By 5 a.m., about 200 people had been rescued from flooded homes in New Bern, where the National Weather Service reported 10 feet of inundation.
New Bern spokeswoman Colleen Roberts said 455 people in all were rescued in the town of 30,000 residents without any serious injuries or deaths.
Officials also have confirmed the hurricane's first known fatalities.
After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 225km/h earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few kilometers east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.
The NHC said Florence had the potential to dump historic amounts of rain on North and SC, as much as 40 inches (one meter) in some places.
By Friday evening, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm, its winds weakening to 112 km/h as it pushed inland.
In Wilmington, numerous trees that contributed to its historic beauty are now gone. The streets were mostly deserted and some were blocked by fallen trees. We've got a lot of debris, a lot of covered roads, covered with water.
"We'll operate without power; we have candles".
About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm.