Florence's top sustained winds have weakened to 50mph (80km/h) but it is projected to bring further catastrophic flash flooding.
More than two feet of rain had fallen in some eastern counties places, and the drenching went on and on, with forecasters saying there could be an additional foot-and-a-half by the end of the weekend.
As it moves near OH and West Virginia, it will become a remnant low.
Data show that even with the increase in flood insurance coverage over the past year, the number of homes covered is down 3 percent in North Carolina and 6 percent SC compared with five years ago.
As of 11:00 am (1500 GMT), maximum sustained winds had weakened to near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, but the NHC warned residents of risky storm surges and "catastrophic flash flooding".
More than 20,000 people in North Carolina spent Friday night in emergency shelters.
The president may travel to the region next week, the White House has said.
What do we know of the victims?
What Fayetteville is facing with Florence is potentially worse than two years ago with Matthew, when at least four people died as a result of flash flooding. SC recorded its first death from the storm, with officials saying a 61-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle hit a tree that had fallen across a highway. One of them, a man, died from natural causes. It has top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kph) and is moving west at 6 miles per hour (9 kph). Multiple deaths have been reported.
Florence is forecast to creep along eastern SC through Saturday, dumping lots of water and lashing the region with winds.
Cumberland County, North Carolina, ordered a mandatory evacuation of homes along the Cape Fear River Saturday over flooding concerns. More than 2.4 million people were evacuated from China's southern Guangdong province ahead of the massive typhoon, the strongest to hit the region in almost two decades. "Right now, we are thinking that there will tens of thousands of homes that are going to be damaged", he said.
"That's preliminary at this point".
Outer Banks residents and businesses owners are reporting relatively minimal damage in the low-lying barrier islands.
Where is the storm heading now?
The powerful storm that has already left at least 14 people dead and about 1 million without power on the East Coast continued to move inland at an ominously sluggish pace Saturday, fat with rain and threatening to deliver hardship and devastation far beyond the wind-battered coasts.
The storm is expected to move northeastward Monday and across the southern part of New England on Tuesday.
The Federal Emergency Management Authority has said motorists should not attempt to drive through floodwaters.
"I've been down here for about 18 years and have been through all the hurricanes, so it is just about getting generators, candles and flashlights", he said.
Helene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Thursday.
And Florence isn't the only named Atlantic storm swirling around.
The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the tweet said.
The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
"The water kept rising and kept rising", he said.
The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale - other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia. The average damage caused by flooding during Harvey was around $80,000, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. Electricity remained out for much of the city, known for its historic mansions, with power lines lying across roads like wet strands of spaghetti. Right on the coast, though, Mr. Yando said the flood water definitely can be unsafe.
"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life".