Winds have dropped to about 40 miles per hour (65 kph) since it roared ashore along the US mid-Atlantic coast on Friday as a hurricane and it is crawling west over two states at 6 mph (9 kph), the National Hurricane Center in Miami said early Sunday.
With rivers rising towards record levels, thousands of people were ordered to evacuate for fear the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.
"The flood danger from this storm is more immediate today than when it made landfall 24 hours ago", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday.
Three died in one inland county, Duplin, because of water on roads and flash floods, the sheriff's office said.
"We moved all the furniture up in case the water comes in but the water seems to be staying at the edge of the driveway", he said, adding that if the wind picks up and the rain keeps coming, that could change.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com said Florence could dump a staggering 68 trillion litres of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Maryland.
Picture the entire state of Texas covered with roughly 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water: that's Florence's rainfall forecast over a week.
Wind speeds are kicking up far from the coast in central SC as Hurricane Florence slowly makes its way along the coast.
View of Florence in Wilmington, N.C., on Friday.
Roads were closed and authorities warned of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled.More news: Steph Curry backs Serena Williams over US Open final outburst
More than 415,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks the nation's electrical grid.
That's just the number of customers without power in the Carolinas.
"They definitely need to be prepared." he said.
"Floyd stands as North Carolina's greatest natural disaster of record to date".
Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said about 2,000 cubic yards (1,530 cubic meters) of ash were displaced at the L. V. Sutton Power Station outside Wilmington and that contaminated runoff likely flowed into the plant's cooling pond. He warned that rivers continue to rise after the heaviest rains have fallen.
Southern and western North Carolina: An additional 10-15 inches, with storm total accumulations up to 20 inches in western North Carolina and up to 40 inches in southeast North Carolina.
Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that 'a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC'. "We all know that".
Volunteers from all over North Carolina help rescue residents and their pets from their flooded homes during Hurricane Florence Sept. 14, 2018 in New Bern, North Carolina.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.
"I don't see any portion of the state of North or SC that's not going to be impacted in some way", said Cline. "That's why we've been preaching to people that you have to get away from the water".