At least five people are said to have died as a result of Florence, officials reported Saturday morning.
In the Upstate, which was expected to feel much milder effects from Florence, the storm's winds may have contributed to a woman's death Friday night.
Florence was moving west-southwest at about 5 miles per hour (7 km/h), with its center located over eastern SC. "If those shelters fill up, we will establish more shelters", Cooper said.
Most of the fatalities from Florence, which made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, have occurred in North Carolina, where officials confirmed eight victims. More than a dozen Superfund sites in the Houston metro area were flooded previous year during Hurricane Harvey, with breaches of potentially harmful materials reported at two. But thousands of buildings were damaged in destruction Roberts called "heart-wrenching".
"We have 4,200 damaged homes", he said, urging residents to not wade out into the streets because of the dangers posed by downed power lines.
A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.
In Lenoir County a 78-year-old man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords and another man died after being blown away by high winds while checking on his dogs.
There have been "several hundred" rescue operations, Governor Cooper said.
Florence's flooding claims a couple of cars and the first story of a house in New Bern, NC.More news: Explosions and fires rock Boston neighbourhoods
"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said. Rain-soaked furniture workers helped him quickly empty more than 1,000 mattresses from a warehouse in a low-lying strip mall.
USA power companies said more than 870,000 homes and businesses, mostly in North Carolina and SC, were without power on Saturday after Florence hit the Southeast coast.
As the remnants of the storm begin to accelerate, it is expected to spark heavy rainfall and renewed flood risks in areas from southern Virginia into the Appalachians, meteorologists warn.
Parts of New Bern and North Carolina were 10 feet underwater after local rivers overflowed their banks.
It's moving very slowly, at about 2mph (3.2km/h).
"I don't see any portion of the state of North or SC that's not going to be impacted in some way", said Cline.
"High winds and severe flooding from Hurricane Florence will impede the pace of our outage restoration efforts". Key trends• Florence's keep of abode: By early Saturday, Florence was 25 miles (35 km) west of Myrtle Seaside, South Carolina. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay, or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimetres) of water.
Major flooding was also expected to the east in Kinston on the Neuse River, expected to reach 27 feet by Monday, nearing a record 28.3 feet set during Hurricane Matthew. "We don't (where we're going) yet. You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the authorities in New Bern said on Twitter.
Besides federal and state emergency crews, rescuers were being helped by volunteers from the "Cajun Navy" who also turned up in Houston during Hurricane Harvey to carry out water rescues.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard ..." Eventually, a volunteer rescue team from IN arrived with a boat and rescued them.