Outer bands from the hurricane were lashing land on Thursday, at least a full day before the National Hurricane Center expects the slow-moving storm's eye to blow ashore around the North Carolina-South Carolina line.
Inland cities and towns will not be spared from the storm, with anywhere from 5-20 inches of rain forecast to fall in many parts of North and SC.
"It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many generators you have if you can't get gas", she said.
Flooding from heavy rains is the second-leading cause of fatalities in tropical storms and hurricanes that make landfall.
As of 1 p.m. ET, more than a foot of rain had fallen in many towns in southeastern North Carolina.
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More than 10 million people live in areas under warnings or watches for hurricane- or tropical storm- force winds, CNN reports.
The Category 1 hurricane's storm, with treacherous wind and rain, is expected to cause more damage through the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.
Despite the monster's category level being reduced to category 1 as it swallowed up North Carolina, its wrath continues to be felt after it hit the shore with fierce 110mph winds and torrential rain.
FEMA's first priority after Florence passes will be getting infrastructure that's critical to communities' well-being up and running, Long said.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the US electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.
Atlantic Beach was receiving winds of roughly 65-75 miles per hour as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a Fox News report.
Florence isn’t alone. More tropical storms are brewing
Forecasters said Isaac will bring several inches of rain to some locations and possibly life-threatening surf conditions. At 5 a.m., the storm was centered 575 miles (925 km) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving at 17 mph (28 kph).
Speaking with NPR's Morning Edition, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper described the storm as "an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave".
And they say people who are truly in an emergency should call 911, not just Tweet about it.
"We've got to quickly understand the damage that's been done to the transportation systems, the communication systems, the power systems, and we are positioning, and have bene positioned for multiple days now, to get those critical lifelines back up and stable as quickly as we can", he said.
Duke Energy, a power company in the Carolinas, estimated that one million to three million customers could lose electricity because of the storm and that it could take weeks to restore.
New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Durham Herald-Sun around 5am that about 200 people had been rescued so far. The storm is expected to crawl into far southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC through Saturday, punishing the area over and over with rain and damaging winds. They're riding out the storm at their home with four children - ages 11 to 17 - Marson's friend, four dogs, two chinchillas, a cat and a lizard.
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He added in a tweet: "The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching". Instead, he argued, without providing evidence, that the death toll was a Democratic claim to make him look bad.