Forecasters have issued what they call a a flash flood emergency, saying areas of surrounding Carteret County are flooding that have never flooded before. As of early Friday afternoon, 20 inches of rain had already fallen in parts of North Carolina - and some resolution models are predicting that by Sunday, the southeastern part of the state could see 50 inches of rain.
A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police.
The NHC said Florence had the potential to dump historic amounts of rain on North and SC, as much as 40 inches (one meter) in some places.
Officials say two people died in Lenoir County.
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. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain while another man died when he was knocked down by high winds while checking on his dogs.
"We are expecting several more days of rain", Governor Roy Cooper said.
Hurricane Florence makes landfall in US North Carolina coast
He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet. Florence was inching along Friday night, trapping people in flooded homes and promising days of destruction and human suffering.
Nearly 20 inches of rain has already fallen.
Hurricane Florence is now located about 15 miles north-northeast of Myrtle Beach, North Carolina.
The White House said President Donald Trump was to visit hurricane-hit areas next week "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts".
More than 22,600 people were housed in 150 shelters statewide, including schools, churches and Wake Forest Universitys basketball arena.
New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones. The storm is moving west at 5 miles per hour and a slow westward movement will continue across extreme eastern SC through Saturday.
Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern partly to protect their house.