At least four people were killed.
Across the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, businesses are bracing for the economic damage Hurricane Florence is expected to inflict on the area.
The storm is moving steadily toward the Carolinas' coastal areas. Significant weakening is expected over the weekend. More are on the way to help us. The list of canceled football games included No. 13 Virginia Tech's home game against East Carolina, No. 14 West Virginia's trip to North Carolina State and No. 18 UCF's visit to North Carolina.
Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches.
"It's going to be bad", said Woody White, a county commissioner.
Shaken after seeing waves crashing on the Neuse River just outside his house in New Bern, restaurant owner and hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.
"No hurricane landfall forecast is simple". Unsure of what they might find when they return home, the couple went shopping for a recreational vehicle.
Florence was located about 325 miles (520 km) east-southeast of Myrtle beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km per hour), the Miami, Florida-based weather forecaster said.
But it was clear that this was really about the water, not the wind.
KHOU reports the storm could bring 10 inches of rain to isolated spots in South Texas. Floyd produced 24 inches (61 cm) of rain in some parts of North Carolina while Florence already has dumped about 30 inches (76 cm) in areas around Swansboro, North Carolina, with more on the way.
"Data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft along with satellite imagery and various intensity estimates indicate that Florence has weakened instead of strengthening". Another one of the bears ended up in the middle of the street in the background.
Coles and Aldi pull strawberry supply amid needle sabotage
He said unless confidence and sales recovered quickly, growers would have to leave strawberries on the ground to rot. Queensland Police are now heading an investigation aimed at tracking down the source of the needles.
Florence had been a Category 3 hurricane with 120 miles per hour winds on Thursday but dropped to Category 1 before coming ashore.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says residents should shelter in place and stay off the roads as Hurricane Florence starts to come ashore in the Carolinas and its effects make their way north.
By Monday the storm, eroding toward becoming an extratropical low, will move north across western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee as it moves up the Appalachian Mountains - potentially dumping even more rain in the Ohio River watershed, where rivers are already high from moisture carried north by the remains of tropical storm Gordon. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.
"I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence", Mr Deal said.
And yet another tropical storm formed in the Atlantic Thursday night. The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.
Rescue workers in North Carolina meanwhile were scrambling to save people stranded in their homes.
150 people remain trapped in New Bern, and FEMA rescuers are trying to reach them.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. "If that occurs, when you call 911, we will tell you that they are not able to respond, and then we will call you back to see if you still need their services when they are again able to respond during the storm".
Boat teams including volunteers rescued some 360 residents, including Sadie Marie Holt, 67, who first tried to row out of her neighborhood during Florence's assault.
Florence is becoming more of a threat to more people - now including some in Georgia - in more ways with a giant dose of uncertainty on top.
"Honestly, I grew up in Wilmington".