The most rain so far from Florence was 33.9 inches (86 cm) in Swansboro, North Carolina, a new record for a single hurricane in the state.
Long noted that "recovery is always a very frustrating process for people when they've lost their livelihoods, but we're going to be OK".
Florence "will produce catastrophic flooding over parts of North and SC for some time", NOAA official Steve Goldstein said. A local official said it was a "storm-related medical fatality", but did not elaborate.
At least five people have died as Tropical Storm Florence slowly crept westward over the Carolinas Saturday, dumping massive amounts of water on the region.
"The rainfall is epic and will continue to be", Cooper 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.
Road access to Wilmington has also been cut off, since US-74 in Columbus County closed, Trogdon said.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence's top sustained winds were holding at 45 miles per hour (75 kph), with higher gusts east of the storm's center.
Floodwaters surged over roads, prompting the closing of Interstate 95 just north of the Carolinas' border.
Major flooding was also expected to the east in Kinston on the Neuse River, expected to reach 27 feet by Monday, nearing a record 28.3 feet set during Hurricane Matthew.
A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police.
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In Lenoir County a 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords and another man died after being blown away by high winds while checking on his dogs.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Saturday announced the death of a 61-year-old woman who died when her vehicle hit a downed tree on a highway.
About a million customers in the two states are without power, the New York Times reports.
"The flood danger from storm is more immediate today than when it made landfall 24 hrs ago", North Carolina Emergency Management said on Twitter. More ppl now face a threat than when the storm was offshore.
"Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren't watching for them, you are risking your life", Gov. Roy Cooper said.
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. That's enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay or to cover the state of Texas in 4 inches.
In a separate briefing, Steve Goldstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said some areas have already received two feet of rain and could expect up to 20 inches more as the system moved "slowly, almost stationary" over eastern North Carolina.
"Once the last drops of rain [have] occurred doesn't mean problems are over", he said.
The storm's death toll climbed to 14 when a man drowned after a pickup truck flipped into a drainage ditch along a flooded road in SC.
Typhoon Mangkhut lashed the northern Philippines on Saturday, with its powerful winds and rain setting off landslides and destroying homes, leaving at least three people dead and six missing, as the storm barrelled toward southern China. "Nobody expected this", a rescued resident, Tom Ballance, toldThe Weather Channel.