"You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland", the center's director, Ken Graham, said Friday morning.
The barrier island of Emerald Isle is under water, with ocean waves rolling in over a six-foot storm surge and crashing into homes.
That was the year Hurricane Fran made landfall near Wilmington as a Category 3 storm.
The outages were announced just after 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14 as the eye of Hurricane Florence wobbled slowly southwestward just off the coast of southeastern North Carolina, near the border with SC. But Florence's forward movement had slowed to a crawl, and it piled on the rain in a siege that could go on all weekend long.
The storm surge from Hurricane Florence is potentially life-threatening, as water is beginning to pick up along some of the roadways.
As Florence raged, a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico brought heavy rain to already saturated areas along the Texas coast, resulting in street flooding and prompting some schools to cancel or cut short classes.
The Cajun Navy rescues stranded residents in New Bern, North Carolina, as storm surge waters inundate the coastal city.
Federal officials are urging anyone who ignored orders to evacuate from Hurricane Florence to hunker down and stay put until the storm passes.
"Either no (hotel) rooms are available, or we are denied because the breed or size of dogs", she said.
None of the people rescued were injured.
In one video, major flooding has gone up the steps of a home in Belhaven, North Carolina.
Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it was unclear how many did.
In New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, local officials said.
The city of New Bern, North Carolina has promised help is on its way to 150 individuals trapped by Hurricane Florence's inundation of the small town.
Teddie Davis goes to check on one of the town's signature bears that was toppled by Hurricane Florence in downtown New Bern, N.C., on Friday.
"You can't get over till we have power and we have sewer up and running", said the retired teacher and real estate agent, who rode out the hurricane in an inland hotel. Hurricane Florence begins lashing the US East Coast.
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
The alert also cautions against the presence of large swells affecting Bermuda, portions of the U.S. East Coast, and the northwestern and central Bahamas, "resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents".
Pushed in a storm surge of 10 feet above normal levels in Morehead City, North Carolina, the National Weather Service said.
And they say people who are truly in an emergency should call 911, not just Tweet about it.
The eye of the storm recently hit North Carolina, with the category 2 hurricane expected to make landfall imminently.
The storm weakened to a Category 1 storm Thursday night, but it has left hundreds of thousands without power nonetheless.
"The worst of the storm is not yet here, but these are early warnings of the days to come", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. Hurricane damage caused a power outage but water remains operational, according to the Twitter account.
Winds bent trees toward the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power. At Cape Lookout there were sustained winds of 83 miles per hour and gusts of 106.