Forecasters warned that drenching rains of 1 to 3 1/2 feet (30 centimetres to 1 metre) as the storm crawls westward across North and SC could trigger epic flooding well inland over the next few days. Most of the outages are in North Carolina, though several thousand are without power in SC.
Fayetteville, a city of about 210,000 people about 90 miles (145 km) inland, issued a mandatory evacuation order for thousands of residents near Cape Fear River because of flooding.
In one piece of good news, authorities said 16 wild ponies of hurricane-struck Ocracoke Island, located off the North Carolina coast, were safe. However, as US Presidents Trump says, "fake news". "Work will begin when conditions safely allow", the company said on its website on Saturday.
"Remember: Most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars", he said. These rains are expected to produce "prolonged, significant river flooding". Trump, who plans a visit to the region next week, tweeted his "deepest sympathies and warmth" to the families and friends of those who had lost their lives.
Florence's death toll could rise as a number of deaths are being investigated to see if they were caused by the storm.
A day after Florence blew ashore in North Carolina with 90 miles per hour (145 kph) winds, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and other rescue crews used helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles to reach scores of people trapped on rooftops or otherwise caught in the floodwaters.
Five people are known to have died as the massive weather system knocked down trees, flooded rivers, and dumped sheets of rain in the Carolinas. Officials said flood waters from other areas are accumulating north of the county and filling the river basins beyond their capacities. Mike Doll, Senior Meteorologist at Accuweather said the winds will continue to slow down over the weekend and the main problem moving forward will be flooding due to heavy rains.
With Hurricane Florence barrelling toward their home near Wilmington, North Carolina, Allison Hales Jordan and her husband boarded up their house, packed up their auto and headed to Walt Disney World in Florida with their two teenage children.
In Pender County, officials said that a woman died of a heart attack Friday morning as emergency crews tried to reach her; they were delayed because of downed trees and debris in the road. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted attempting to connect extension cords while another man died when he was blown down by high winds while checking on his hunting dogs, a county spokesman said.
The National Hurricane Center described Florence's path as a wobble around southeastern North Carolina.
Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C., on September 14, 2018.
Parts of southern North Carolina and northeastern SC could see another foot or more of rain over the weekend, according to National Weather Service.
"It was pitch black and I was just scared out of my mind", said Tracy Singleton, who with her family later drove through torrential rain and high winds from her home near New Bern.
The military is providing assistance to flood ravaged SC.