Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water.
At least five deaths are connected to the storm.
Numerous state highways leading out of town were also disappearing under water.
About 10 million people could be affected by the storm.
As the United States dealt with Florence, a strong typhoon tore across the northern tip of the Philippines, killing at least three people, wrecking homes and triggering landslides before heading toward Hong Kong and southern China.
Bergaw Mayor Pete Cowan warned that the local hospital was not accessible; it had already been evacuated. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".
Duke said it had more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allowed, including more than 8,000 from Duke's Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the Midwest, 1,200 from Florida and 9,400 from other utilities.
The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 21 miles per hour on September 14 morning in Columbia. These rains are expected to produce "prolonged, significant river flooding".
"We are expecting several more days of rain, and our focus now is getting people away from immediate danger", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said as the relenting storm puttered slowly west near the SC border.
The aquatic mammals are seen swimming against the current of the storm surge as it pounds the coastline near Wilmington, North Carolina, yesterday. These areas will see 3 to 6 inches of rainfall, with isolated cases of 8 inches.
The city of Jacksonville's statement says people have been moved to the city's public safety center as officials work to find a more permanent shelter.
It's moving very slowly, at about 2mph (3.2km/h).
"It's the first time we've ever had to move anything like this", Rose said. "But we're still in the throes of it".
The city of about 29,000, which was founded in the early 1700s, is near the North Carolina coast and is bordered on the east and south, respectively, by two rivers.
"I can not overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Governor Roy Cooper said.
"This system is unloading an epic amount of rainfall: in some places, measured in feet, not inches". Seventy people had to be pulled from a collapsing hotel at the height of the storm, and many more who defied evacuation orders were hoping to be rescued.
It was downgraded to Category 1 before coming ashore on Friday near Wilmington. "If the river rises to the level they say it's going to, then this warehouse is going to be under water", he said.
Crews from the city and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were working with citizen volunteers to get people to dry ground, Roberts said.
Under a vehicle port on Route 117 South in Burgaw, Kevin Everett's family cooked pancakes and bacon on a charcoal grill.
After they brought the dogs to dry land, they went back to try to rescue a cat Drake had noticed at another home, he told "CBS This Morning.".
Everett, 43, didn't plan to evacuate, but he had seven family members to think about, including a young grandson. "If not we'd be stuck upstairs for the next. how long?" "Don't make yourself someone who needs to be rescued".
In New Bern, along the coast, aerial photos show homes completely surrounded by water, with rescuers using inflatable boats to reach people. Along with other home cleanup and fix work ministries, Frazier said his group works to "basically restore somebody back to where they were as much as we can".
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