It has now been downgraded to a tropical storm but continues to wreak havoc as heavy rain is flooding several areas in the south-west and winds continue to pull infrastructure apart.
"WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington". Hurricane-force winds and inland flooding also is a concern. Florence is now a tropical depression, but still remains risky.
Forecasters believe the biggest danger right now is the water, not the wind.
"If the rain had been - they said 20 inches like with Floyd [in 1999] - I'd be at the house now".
And on Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina.
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.
"Florence is here to stay for awhile", McMaster said from Columbia Friday afternoon.
More than 20,000 residents have packed into North Carolina emergency shelters, and officials have told those still in the storm's path to stay in place.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster asked people to remain patient during a last-minute news conference before Hurricane Florence begins to impact the state.
Potential losses: estimated $10 billion to $60 billion in economic damages.
Rescue crews used boats to reach more than 360 people stranded by rising waters in New Bern, North Carolina, while many of their neighbours awaited help.
Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the Philippines, ripping off tin roof sheets and knocking out power in an agricultural region of flood-prone rice plains and landslide-prone mountain provinces. His mom remembers Hurricane Hazel, when the water did not rise as high as his fifth step, where it was Thursday night. Follow us here to get the latest warnings.
Florence is expected to dump 18 trillion gallons of rainwater on U.S. soil, meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted. That's still less than the 25 trillion gallons Hurricane Harvey dropped a year ago in Texas and Louisiana. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on the federal level Tuesday for the Carolinas and Virginia.
Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour (155 kph) winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster. Ballance called the rainfall "biblical", saying he's gotten reports from friends that his downtown seafood restaurant was flooded, just like the rest of the downtown.
At one point, the 350-mile-wide but slow-moving storm packed winds so fierce that "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor almost lost contact with CBS News' New York studio during the morning broadcast. The National Weather Service measured storm surge in New Bern at 10 feet deep. "There is evidence to support that storm systems - hurricanes - are slowing down in the coastal plain due to climate change". But previous research has shown that the strongest hurricanes are getting wetter, more intense and intensifying faster due to human-caused warming.
Florence's intensity has diminished since it roared ashore along the USA mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane.
To compliment the supplies the government is giving evacuees, World Vision has also prepared hygiene kits that are filled with laundry soaps, toiletries, blankets, mosquito nets and plastic mats for the approximate 4,000 families fleeing the storm.