It has trapped people in flooded homes, with citizen swift-water rescue teams from out of state joining local emergency professionals around the clock to try and bring them to safety. Others could only wait and hope someone would come for them.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", New Bern city officials said on Twitter.
Florence has already knocked out power to close to a million households in the Carolinas, with some areas not expecting to regain electricity for days.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence's winds have slowed to tropical storm strength, and said the storm is moving slowly inland with sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour and higher gusts.
Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 miles per hour (110 kph), and it's at a near standstill, moving west at just 3 miles per hour (6 kph).
Over 1,400 flights have been cancelled, according to FlightAware.com, as most of the coastal region's airports are closed to ride out the storm. Already, the event has broken the state's record for most rain ever observed in a tropical storm or hurricane, with a preliminary report of more than 30 inches. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".
Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed one of the deaths occurred in Lenoir County, when someone was plugging in a generator, according to a press release.
Hurricane Florence continues to assault North and SC in the U.S., with five persons reported dead on Friday night due to powerful, gusting winds and extremely heavy rain. About 210,000 people were staying in 170 shelters in the Carolinas.
As the storm moves into hilly terrain, it's also expected to unleash catastrophic and potentially deadly flash flooding and possibly mud slides, the hurricane center warned.
Two fins were spotted in the high water in Wilmington.
Florence was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticised as slow and unprepared previous year for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where the death toll was put at almost 3,000. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay, or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches of water.
North Carolina alone is forecast to get 36 trillion litres, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 25 centimetres.
At the Comfort Suites in Wilmington, hotel staff hiding out with news crews and storm refugees were left in the dark when the power went out.
The remnants of Isaac are a few swirls of gusty winds in the Caribbean.
A wind gust at the Wilmington airport was clocked at almost 170km/h, the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.
Airlines canceled more than 2,100 flights through Sunday. "The ocean is going to start rising".
Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, on September 14, 2018.
Meteorologists warned it might be days and weeks after Florence's direct hit before the town sees rising water levels. A town spokesman said between 60 and 75 people were awaiting rescue on Saturday.
Two people also died in Harkers Island, North Carolina, on Friday, Carteret County Director of Emergency Services Stephen Rea said Saturday.
"And we're not done yet", Graham said, adding that some hard-hit areas could get an additional 15 to 20 inches because the storm was moving so slowly.