North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons (36 trillion liters), enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).
'The worst is yet to come, ' he added.
The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression around 5 a.m. ET as it trudged inland, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as floodwaters kept rising.
About 1.7 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders, and millions of others live in areas likely to be affected by the storm. Authorities have launched investigations. Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with 120-mph winds as of Thursday, but dropped to a Category 1 hurricane before coming ashore. Swansboro, North Carolina already was awash in 34 inches of rain by Sunday afternoon. "And what happens is, even in [Hurricane Florence] you might see more deaths indirectly as time goes on because people have heart attacks due to stress, they fall off their house trying to fix their roof, they die in vehicle crashes because they went through an intersection where the stop lights weren't working". The city was submerged for days after 2016's Hurricane Matthew. He's not waiting for that to happen again. It was expected to reach 24 feet by midday Sunday.
The fear of sudden, massive river flooding isn't limited to Lumberton.
White said officials have asked Gov. Roy Cooper for additional aid.
Cooper said it's not too late to go to an emergency shelter.
McMaster had ordered residents in most of the state's coastal counties to evacuate ahead of Florence's arrival.
In New Bern, N.C., the city announced Saturday night 455 people were rescued from their flood-swamped homes.
Morris said he stood behind the large fallen tree, flashing his flashlight, and though he got one motorist to turn around he was unable to get Lee to stop.
"I thought I'd come out here and see if I could get more fuel, but no luck", said Steve McLean outside a Harris Teeter gasoline station that had electricity, but no gasoline. A man and woman died in Horry County due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to SC officials.
On Sunday, Florence claimed a 14th victim, a man who drowned when a pickup truck flipped into a drainage ditch in SC, and a 15th, after a pickup truck veered off a road and struck an overpass support beam in SC.
Two other fatalities in Carteret County were earlier blamed on the storm, but authorities later clarified a husband and wife had died in an apparent murder-suicide, reports the Charlotte Observer.
Amber Dawn Lee of Union, South Carolina, was driving her pick up truck around 9.30pm on the Gaffney Highway.
- A woman who suffered cardiac arrest in Hampstead, North Carolina.
President Trump's disaster declaration for eight North Carolina counties frees up federal funding including grants for property repairs and low-priced loans to cover uninsured losses. He said the gust was the strongest recorded in Wilmington since 1958.
"Remember: Most storm deaths occur from drowning in fresh water, often in cars", he said.
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