Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute" that could wipe out entire communities as it grinds its way across land.
At least 17 people have died in North and SC, as rescuers in pulled residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers.
"We're just kind of in a period of waiting to see like, how bad is it going to get", said, who says he spent days preparing for the storm.
They did not say whether there were any injuries or what the train was carrying.
"The amount of water and the storm surge was very overwhelming", he said.
Some good news: Waffle House is open!
"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.
Authorities continue to worry about more floods, breached dams and landslides, particularly as Florence makes its way across mountainous regions. It came ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
► North Carolina's New Bern and Wilmington experienced severe flooding and extensive building damage. The big concern now is river water gushing downstream, further deluging flooded cities. "It's just bad - winds are still really high".
"I think that the storm is likely going to produce impacts greater than Hurricane Matthew", Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said on Fox News, referring to a Category 5 storm that struck in 2016, killing 26 in the state.
Florence's forward movement during the day slowed to a near-standstill - sometimes it was going no faster than a human can walk - and that enabled it to pile on the rain.
Death toll from Florence rises, officials urge caution as storm continues | Charlotte Observer
Numerous roads across eastern North Carolina were blocked by fallen trees and flooding including parts of I-95, a major north-south artery.
CNN meteorologist Michael Guy added: "The issue for the Carolinas then becomes the river flooding continuing for the rest of the week".
At one point Sunday afternoon, part of a makeshift barrier meant to plug a low point in the city's main levee system gave way and river water leaked through - prompting workers to try to shore it back up with construction equipment.
As the remnants of Florence moved into the U.S. Northeast, and the sun appeared in some areas for the first time in days, residents of the Carolinas confronted its after-effects, including power outages, impassable roads, and sewage spilling into flooded areas. 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.
The cost of the damage is expected to reach $15 billion for North Carolina, $2 billion for SC and $1 billion elsewhere, said Chuck Watson, a disaster researcher at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.
Disasters have been declared in eight North Carolina counties along the coast.
The Neuse River near Goldsboro, about 60 miles from New Bern, has already reached 25.62 feet and is still rising.
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday. "Do what you need to get ready for this one more time".
Hundreds of residents were rescued on Friday, and the city was placed under a 24-hour curfew until further notice.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard ..."
"We know that children have been ripped from the lives that they knew, and they're unsure of what the future may hold", Thompson said. She was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited assistance.
Pavements have been destroyed by uprooted trees, homes have been badly flooded and families have been warned it could potentially be weeks before all their homes have electricity again. I was in one in Wilmington yesterday that had something like 400 cars waiting in line to fill their tanks and their canisters.
4 dead, including gunman, in Cincinnati bank shooting
Isaac said Santa Perez had moved to the Cincinnati area around 2015, and had seven previous addresses between then and Thursday. The officers then entered the building, subdued the suspect and began to render aid to the victims, Isaac said .
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