Hurricane Florence is battering North Carolina with wild winds and a powerful storm surge.
Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which had dropped off from an alarming 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.
In New Bern, where a curfew was in place, city authorities said at least 150 people were awaiting rescue.
The NHC said the greatest threats to life came from storm-surges while "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding" was expected.
North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).
A state of emergency is in effect in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.
These types of slow-moving storms - like Hurricane Harvey - can be particularly unsafe because of the rain and flooding they can bring.
The police department said earlier, "Rescue officials are on scene trying to remove the tree from off the home".
The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people to take the storm seriously.
Record water levels occurred at Wrightsville Beach, said NOAA's Ocean Service, which reported the ocean "reached reached 4.11 ft above high tide, breaking a record set by Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 by more than a foot".
In New Bern, Sarah Risty-Davis is one of the residents who opted not to follow a mandatory evacuation order that was issued three days ago.
Heavy rain is persisting over eastern North Carolina.
"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", she added.
Officials have warned against entering attics, unless people have a means to cut through to the roof to avoid drowning.
More than ten people have been killed by Florence and her impact as the remnants of the storm moved through the area Saturday.
At the Wilmington airport, the wind was measured at 105 miles per hour - the highest since 1958, Cooper said.
Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers - and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over. "Our meteorologists are saying that the rainfall amounts will be devastating in certain areas", he said Thursday.
Florence is expected to dump several feet of rain on the Carolinas as she makes a slow push inland over the next few days.
Florence was one of two major storms on Friday.
Officials in SC reported the state's first fatality due to Florence on Saturday.