Florence's rain will reach 40 inches in some parts of the Carolinas, and gusty winds will send the ocean and rivers spilling into neighborhoods, forecasters said.
She said she "could not find anywhere to go" as the family cannot afford multiple hotel rooms. "You never know where there are active downed power lines that could cause an electric situation", Parker says.
The National Hurricane Center described Florence's path as a wobble around southeastern North Carolina.
Fraudsters posing as government workers on Tuesday forced people to leave their homes and businesses in Virginia as Hurricane Florence inched closer to the U.S. east coast.
More than 10 million people live in areas under warnings or watches for hurricane- or tropical storm- force winds, CNN reports.
Except - and we don't mean to jinx it - but the storm *is* heading further south from here and the wind did die down a bit so who is to say it didn't work entirely?
Hurricane Florence made landfall on the US East Coast on Friday, knocking out power to almost half a million homes and causing buildings to crumble.
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
Florence was located about 325 miles east-southeast of Myrtle beach, South Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour, the Miami-based weather forecaster said. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometers) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles (315 kilometers).
More than 400,000 homes and businesses have lost power across North Carolina overnight, local media reported.
"Very eerie, the wind howling, the rain blowing sideways, debris flying", said Orsa, who lives nearby and feared splintering trees would pummel her house. Calls for help kept coming in as the wind picked up and the tide arrived, said city public information officer Colleen Roberts.
Emergency preparations in the region included activating 2,800 National Guard troops in North Carolina, stockpiling food, setting up shelters, switching traffic patterns so major roads led away from shore, and securing 16 nuclear power reactors in the Carolinas and Virginia.
More than a million people were ordered to leave the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia, with over 12,000 taking refuge in emergency shelters.
Storm surges could push as far as 2 miles (3 km) inland, NHC said, while heavy rains were forecast to extend into the Appalachian Mountains, affecting parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
"We've rescued over 100 people in New Bern, N.C.; people from Jacksonville, N.C., had to rescued from a hotel", Cooper said, describing efforts to save people in towns north of Wilmington where high floods have already hit.
The hurricane was seen as a major test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was heavily criticized as slow and unprepared for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico past year.
Hurricane Irma destroyed Kathy Griffin's house in Florida a year ago, and it could be days before she finds out whether Florence smashed her fifth-story condominium in Wrightsville Beach, where authorities said utilities could be out for days or weeks.
"The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves, " it said.