Authorities on Saturday warned residents displaced by a killer hurricane that its devastation was far from over, as Florence dumped "epic amounts of rainfall" across the eastern United States, bringing catastrophic flooding.
Florence drove almost 1 million people from their homes and almost 700,000 lost power.
The state also has more than two dozen coal ash pits run by Duke Energy, North Carolina's main electricity provider.
"The fact that there haven't been more deaths and damage is incredible and a blessing", said Rebekah Roth, walking around Wilmington's Winoca Terrace neighborhood. "Work will begin when conditions safely allow", the company said on its website on Saturday.
By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75mph, just barely a hurricane and well below the storm's terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 miles per hour earlier in the week.
Officials in the town of 30,000, which dates to the early 18th century, said over 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.
"This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged, significant river flooding", the hurricane center said.
"And you don't need power to sling booze", said owner Eli Ellsworth. "We have two boats and all our worldly possessions", said Susan Patchkofsky, who refused her family's pleas to evacuate and stayed at Emerald Isle with her husband.
Strong winds and heavy rain continue to present a danger, and Florence is now being attributed to several deaths. Over a million residents in North Carolina are now without power and authorities have confirmed at least five deaths. Hundreds of people were rescued in New Bern, North Carolina, on Friday.
"Right now we've rescued over 400 people". Its surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain, touching off severe flooding.
A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police.
A 77-year-old man in Lenoir County, North Carolina, fell and died from "a cardiac event" while checking on dogs outside during the storm, officials said.
Officials in SC said a 61-year-old woman died when her auto struck a tree that had fallen across a highway near the town of Union.
People wait to be rescued by members of the U.S. Army during the passing of Hurricane Florence in the town of New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 14, 2018.
Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.
View of Florence in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.
In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina. Some area residents described a harrowing retreat as the storm hit.
The White House said President Trump will tour areas affected by Florence next week, once it is determined that his visit will not disrupt rescue and recovery operations.
USA correspondent Cordelia Lynch, who is in New Bern, said: "This community in the weeks and months to come is up against a great deal of flooding". "Dangerous storm surge could also affect portions of the northeast coast of SC coast today".