Over 450,000 homes and businesses in North and SC were still without power on Monday evening, down from a peak of almost 1 million outages.
Officials warn of life-threatening storm surges in both North and SC as the hurricane moves towards land with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph (150 km/h).
According to Fitch Ratings, the pre-landfall forecasts for Florence suggest that the hurricane could linger over the Carolina coastal area after its arrival, which could expose the region to an extended period of strong gusts, heavy coastal storm surge, and rainfall-induced flooding (both coastal and inland).
It had sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and was moving in a northwest direction.
Risty-Davis said the water then started to go away and that she was now "just enjoying this moment before the water comes back".
Both North Carolina and SC will feel the brunt of this monstrous storm.
The flooding soon spread into SC, swamping places like North Myrtle Beach, in a resort area known for its white sands and multitude of golf courses. Tens of thousands were without power.
Florence was 155 miles (250km) east of Myrtle Beach in SC at 17:00 EDT (21:00 GMT), and is projected to make landfall on Friday at 08:00 local time.
McMaster has ordered evacuations along much of the state's coast.
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The hurricane center said the large amount of rainfall "will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding". Gov.Cooper said he has activated 2,800 National Guard troops to help with storm relief with more personnel on reserve.
Schleifstein's warning follows various reports of residents refusing to evacuate as the storm approaches. Virginia has also issued evacuation orders.
"We're ready; I've been through probably 20 or more hurricanes living down here", she told NPR's Sarah McCammon. "I've never been one to leave for a storm but this one kind of had me spooked". She said she is anxious that if she evacuates, she'll get caught up in the massive flooding that's expected to affect the region.
People who live along lakes and rivers - and in other low-lying areas, or areas prone to flooding - should pay close attention to local emergency management officials, the National Weather Service and local media for changing weather conditions and rising lake and river levels, and be prepared to take appropriate action. A surge of at least 4 feet is predicted for a much larger area.
Forecasters' European climate model is predicting 2 trillion to 11 trillion gallons of rain will fall on North Carolina over the next week, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of weathermodels.com.
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) Blowing ashore with howling 90 miles per hour (155 kph) winds, Florence splintered buildings, trapped hundreds of people and swamped entire communities along the Carolina coast Friday in what could be just the opening act in a watery, two-part, slow-motion disaster.
Southeastern coastal North Carolina and far northeastern SC are expected to get pelted with 20 to 30 inches of rain, and some isolated spots may get up to 40 inches in 48 hours. Another 400 people were in shelters in Virginia, where forecasts were less dire.
The National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service is predicting "Major Flooding", its most severe classification, from south of the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina, to as as far south as the Waccamaw River near Myrtle Beach, SC.