The heart of downtown historic district of Charleston, South Carolina, is almost empty as Hurricane Florence makes its slow trek across the Carolinas.
A fourth person reportedly was killed while plugging in a generator in the state's Lenoir County, according to USA media.
Sheets of rain splattered against windows of a hotel before daybreak in Wilmington, where Sandie Orsa of Wilmington sat in a lobby lit by emergency lights after the electricity went out.
Saturday night, state and county officials confirmed more deaths, including three people in Duplin County, who died in floodwaters.
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.
The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, as well as Washington D.C., declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm. Florence dumped more than 20 inches on Oriental, N.C., the NHC said.
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Farther up the coast, in New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people.
"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.
Dunn, the mother of a 10-month-old, a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old, said she made a decision to stay behind while others fled. "These are folks who are maybe in one-story buildings and they're seeing the floodwaters rise".
As they waited for emergency workers, they heard neighbors calling for help.
President Donald Trump is expected to travel to areas hit by Florence next week, once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts, the White House said on Friday.
Florence also blew down trees.
Cooper told ABC News' David Muir that residents should continue to shelter in place, even though Florence is no longer a hurricane, because roads are covered in debris and water, and rescues are still taking place in coastal areas.
"It's insane", he said in a phone interview. "I was born and raised here and been through every storm the last 30 years, but this one seems to be doing more damage than we expected".
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The National Weather Service said the area should get heavy rain through Sunday.
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.
Wareheim said he lost power early Friday.
At 5 p.m., Florence had been downgraded to a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.
The National Hurricane Centre said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.
"Rescue workers are working in risky conditions that will only get worse today", said Cooper, who called the storm a "1,000-year rain event" for parts of southeastern North Carolina. Some of those who stayed went to shelters while others stuck it out in their homes.
A friend later tweeted that the woman and her family had been rescued.
"If you are over there and something bad happens, you're out of luck", she said.
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As she sat in the hotel lobby eating a cold breakfast of bananas, cereal bars, and pastries, she recalled that the decision to heed the mandatory evacuation order for her area wasn't hard.