Portions of eastern North Carolina's two interstates are closed because of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Florence's torrential rains and may not re-open before Monday.
Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches (76-102 cm) of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and part of northeastern SC.
Serious flooding is expected throughout the two states - and some rivers may not crest for another three to five days.
Florence made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, even as it continued to wreak havoc along the East Coast, downing trees and power lines and forcing 20,000 people to flee to shelters.
The White House says President Donald Trump has issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina and that will make federal money available to people in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender.
It's moving very slowly, at about 2mph (3.2km/h).
That's just the number of customers without power in the Carolinas.
That's how many flood victims had to be plucked by air, thanks to US Coast Guard helicopters.
The effects of Florence won't be fading anytime soon, either, as current forecasts have upwards of 15-to-20 additional inches of rain possible for areas of North and SC will Florence's remnants will linger for the next 48 to 72 hours.
The viral video, which has more than 13.6 million views, showed Weather Channel correspondent Mike Seidel in Wilmington, North Carolina, trying to fight the heavy wind as he reported live from the storm on Friday. While the amount is unofficial, it would shatter the old record of 24 inches - set near Wilmington during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. "Floods will be more, the water will rise, and if you do not remain vigilant, do not accept measures, it could cost you your life".
Forecasts call for the river to crest Monday at Fayetteville at more than 62 feet (19 meters) - almost 30 feet (9 meters) above flood stage.
"We'll get through this".
There have been "several hundred" rescue operations, Governor Cooper said.
The center of the hurricane's eye came ashore at about 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT) near Wrightsville Beach close to Wilmington, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 kph), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. "As the water recedes things will get better".
Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC".
On Saturday some residents tried to return to home, driving through flooded highways armed with chainsaws to clear fallen pine needle trees that covered the road.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham says areas like New Bern, North Carolina, could also see additional storm surge as high tide combines with the ocean waters still being pushed ashore by Florence's outer bands. The father was hospitalized with injuries. One was electrocuted while hooking up a generator and the other while checking on his dogs outside, emergency officials said.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Saturday announced the death of a 61-year-old woman who died when her auto hit a downed tree on a highway.
Nearly a million people had lost power due to the storm by Saturday morning, 786,000 in North Carolina and 165,000 in SC, according to local utilities, and as many as three million outages have been predicted. No one cameThose who stayed on the support of offered harrowing accounts of getting trapped in properties surrounded by water.
Eudy said his family stayed in their home partly to protect their house. But the water kept rising.
As they waited for emergency workers, they heard neighbors screaming for help.
Some parts of North Carolina have already seen surges as high as 10ft in places.
"Both Fed & local gov made mistakes", he said. She was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited help. A local official said it was a "storm-related medical fatality", but did not elaborate.