As rescuers battled strong winds and debris-filled floodwaters to pluck hundreds of stranded people from their homes, officials confirmed at least three deaths from the monster storm, while United States media reported a fourth.
Police in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Friday afternoon said that a woman and an infant were killed in that city when a tree fell on their home. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.
Meanwhile, winds and rain were expected to arrive later in SC, and a few people were still walking on the sand at Myrtle Beach while North Carolina was getting pounded.
A fourth person reportedly was killed while plugging in a generator in the state's Lenoir County, according to U.S. media.
The coming storm surges and heavy rains will cause severe flooding that may submerge parts of the Carolinas in up to 40 inches of rain. "It's a big one", he said at the White House.
National Weather Service Though Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a category 2 hurricane, it's still caused storm surges up to 10 feet in some areas, with the worst of the flooding still expected to come. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Saturday, pushing up to 13 feet (nearly 4 meters) of storm surge and unloading water on both states.
Elsewhere in North Carolina, one person was killed while plugging in a generator, and a man was knocked to the ground while outside and died.
"We are not going to make it, '" Cherry said.
The National Hurricane Center says the greatest storm surge inundation will probably be between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. About 20,000 people sought sanctuary in 157 shelters.
Hurricane Florence rolled ashore in North Carolina with howling 90 miles per hour winds and terrifying storm surge early Friday, killing at least four people and trapping hundreds more in high water as it settled in for what could be a long and extraordinarily destructive drenching.
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.
"Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?" said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the US Federal Emergency Management Agency. "You can never predict what a hurricane is going to do but I'm just not going to run away from this". New Bern was particularly hard hit, with reports of more than 100 people stranded in their homes or cars in need of rescue.
"These slow and large systems are definitely our nemesis", Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said.
On Market Street near New Hanover High School, an old tree had fallen and blocked the westbound lanes entirely near 15th Street.
The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office announced Friday it had dispatched several teams to help clear debris from the roads.
"This storm is slowly and painfully grinding across our state".
Well, you no longer have to wonder, as The Weather Channel has put together a forecast report using graphics that would not look out of place in your modern blockbuster movie, with visuals that will either amaze or terrify you, depending on which corner of the earth you now reside.
The NHC said hurricane-force winds extended outward 35 miles (55 kms) from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended almost 170 miles (280 kms) out.