With Wilmington cut off from the rest of North Carolina by still-rising floodwaters from Florence, officials plan to airlift food and water to the city of almost 120,000 people as rescuers elsewhere pull inland residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers.
"I only just had the roof repaired from (Hurricane) Matthew two years ago", another resident told me.
More than 20,000 people were in 157 shelters in North Carolina, with almost 6,000 in SC shelters, officials said.
"People need to understand that some areas are likely to be without power for a while", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
The storm killed 17 people in North Carolina, including a mother and child hit by a falling tree, state officials said.
Woody White, chairman of the board of commissioners of New Hanover County, said officials were planning for food and water to be flown into the coastal city of almost 120,000 people.
Staff and volunteer help also came from Greenville, Cary, Currituck, and Elizabeth City as well as from Boston and Houston to assist locally, said Stephens. This water will flow downstream to areas already impacted from flooding rains from Florence.
Officials have remarked that the "worse is yet to come".
North Carolina Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSunday shows preview: Trump faces fallout after Manafort flips Live coverage: Trump court pick on the hot seat in day two of hearing Patient groups say GOP bill on pre-existing conditions is insufficient MORE (R) said earlier Sunday that the storm has caused billions of dollars of destruction already as it continues to makes its way through the state. We're going to have to sort out the crop damage.
Many of those rescues took place on swift boats in Wilmington, a historic coastal city of about 117,000 people on a peninsula between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.
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The whir of generators could be heard throughout the city, a sound not expected to dim soon as crews work to restore power.
At least 17 people have died in North and SC, as rescuers in pulled residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers.
In Belville, just south of Leland, some shops had power restored on Sunday.
"Three times in four years is very hard", said Randy Webster, director of the Horry County Office of Emergency Management.
"We lost all of our cars last night", Heath told her viewers, "because the water was above the headlights, even on our SUVs".
Five people were arrested for breaking into a Dollar General Store, said the police department in Wilmington, which has imposed a nighttime curfew.
With tropical storm-force winds swirling 350 miles wide, Florence continued deluging the Carolinas on Saturday morning after pushing surging seas far ashore.
At least four people have died, and authorities fear the toll will go higher as the tropical storm crawls westward Saturday across SC. Numerous roads were closed, and authorities warned of the risk of landslides, tornadoes and flash floods, with dams and bridges in peril as rivers and creeks swelled.
The Carolinas' swollen rivers are beginning to swamp coal ash dumps and low-lying hog farms. "The storm has never been more risky than it is now".
By Sunday afternoon, Florence's winds had dropped to about 55 km/h, the National Hurricane Center said, with some weakening forecast over the next 24 hours before intensifying once again as an extratropical low-pressure centre.
A woman and her baby were among the first casualties when a tree fell on their house, contributing to a death toll that United States media said had reached 13 - 10 in North Carolina and three in SC, according to CNN.
Mr Trump, who plans to visit the region this week, tweeted his "deepest sympathies and warmth" to the families and friends of those who died.