The hurricane was also deadly, killing five people.
Five people died on Friday, including a mother and baby who died in Wilmington. The child's injured father was hospitalized.
In Kinston, more than an hour's drive inland from the coast, Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a man was electrocuted as he attempted to connect extension cords outside in the rain. NBC news reported a woman called for help, but died of a heart attack because emergency crews were unable to reach her due to trees that had fallen in the road.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and into the northeastern coast of SC in spots.
The deadly effects of the storm are a result of Florence slowing down in its path, pummelling areas with monumental rains and severe wind.
The enormous storm crept at a 6 miles per hour pace, making it clear that the trouble was just beginning. People were stuck in their cars, attics and rooftops, waiting for rescuers in boats. "This band could bring an additional 5 to 10 inches of rain to these areas, exacerbating ongoing flooding and likely leading to additional flooding", the bulletin said. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard, that trying to get out we got thrown into trailers".
Multiple deaths have been linked to Hurricane Florence, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.
Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. By 2 p.m., more than 658,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, and the Triangle had begun to experience outages.
More than 810,000 people lacked power in North Carolina, and another 170,000 outages were reported in SC, according to emergency-management agencies.
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.
One man died after attempting to hook up a generator according to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's office. He urged residents to stay inside and not get in the way of emergency workers. That, and the storm's vast circumference of hundreds of miles, means Wilmington will be inundated with rain, the advisory said. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".
People walk on a local street as water from Neuse River starts flooding houses upon Hurricane Florence coming ashore in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 13, 2018. Flooding also hit the Bogue Sound near Beaufort, the Pungo River at Belhaven and the Pamlico River at Washington.
Satellites will continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Florence from space to make more accurate predictions about where it's heading next. However, there remains a large amount of uncertainty in the ultimate track of what will become post-tropical-storm Florence.
"The worst of the storm is over", Wright tells TIME. "This is a 500- or 1,000-year event". In South Carolina there were 7,000 people staying in shelters.
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. He added that there would be no mercy for those who try to steal from others' homes during the storm.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday.