The following content is sourced from external partners. The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.
He spent the last few hours of calm before the storm visiting those who stayed, collecting contact information for their next-of-kin. The father of the child was transported to a nearby hospital with injuries.
Roads and intersections on North Carolina's Outer Banks barrier islands were inundated.
"Other sources are predicting a financial toll for Florence of up to $170 billion, and we think that is extreme when looking at Florence's track and impacts to people and their lives", Myers said.
Does it matter that Florence is moving slowly?
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds across the state.
"I about jumped out of my skin", he said in a phone interview Friday morning.
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.
At 6 miles per hour, Florence is taking its time making it to shore, but it's already causing life-threatening storm surges and bringing hurricane-force winds to the North Carolina coast.
Just before 5am ET (10am BST) the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the eye of the storm was about to make landfall in North Carolina as hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated.
There are reports of more than 80,000 people without power in North Carolina.
Some areas could receive as much as 40 inches of rain, forecasters said. Twenty inches (50 cm) were reported by early Friday afternoon in the town of Oriental.
"We don't even know them", he said.
General O'Shaughnessy said there were about 7,000 U.S. military personnel now in place and ready to respond to the storm, along with ships, helicopters, high-wheeled vehicles and other equipment. "There's not many drawbacks to living at the beach, but that's one of them".
Jack Kilbourne, 52, and his son Charlie, 13, were among the group of neighbors who live in large homes overlooking the waterway.
"It's insane", he said in a phone interview. "Unfortunately, sweet potatoes and peanuts are just getting underway with harvests, and I'll remind you that we're number one in the nation in sweet potatoes. The infrastructure's going to break, the power's going to go out. but we are going to do everything that we can to push forward as quickly as we can to get things back up and working".
More than 722,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said. Duke Energy, a local power company, estimated that up to three million customers could lose their supply as a result of Florence.
National Weather Service Though Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a category 2 hurricane, it's still caused storm surges up to 10 feet in some areas, with the worst of the flooding still expected to come.
Florence was expected to move onto the Carolina shore early Friday as a Category 2 storm, bringing "catastrophic" rainfall and flash floods. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend.
Maysie Baumgardner, 7, and her family sheltered at the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington as Florence filled the streets with floodwaters.
Ashley Warren and boyfriend Chris Smith did manage to paddle away from their home in a boat with their two dogs, and the experience left her shaken. "I'm a little bit scared right now, but I have my iPad and I'm watching Netflix".