He added that "this storm has never been more risky than it is right now" in some parts of North Carolina.
The death toll from Florence rose to at least 32 in three states, with 25 fatalities in North Carolina, as remnants of the once-powerful Category 4 hurricane - now reduced to a rainy, windy mass of low pressure - speeded up toward the heavily populated Northeast.
The National Weather Service is extending their flood advisory to include southwestern ME and parts of Rockingham county in southern New Hampshire. "Now we're having river flooding, many of our rivers are approaching unsafe flood levels and the flooding is only going to increase in those areas".
The city of Wilmington, North Carolina remains largely cut off from the rest of the state. "With every inch of rain, our rivers rise and we'll see significant flooding on into next week.it could be of historic proportions". About 14,000 people are in shelters, officials said.
"Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina. but we're also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to OH as the system exits out", Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday on Fox News. "Any additional rainfall will exacerbate a bad, catastrophic flooding event, but the heavier and steadier rains are over now", Kottlowski said.
A flash flood warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for Rockingham, Cheshire, and Hillsborough counties. One was electrocuted while outside in the rain, and the other is believed to have been blown down while going outside to check on his dogs, CNN reported.
Others got a case of bottled water or military MREs, or field rations.
Previously, North Carolina's rainfall record from a storm was 24 inches, set by Hurricane Floyd almost twenty years ago. "The mother drove around the barricades on N.C. 218 and continued traveling east until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing across the road", officials said.
Flooding near the Yadkin river in Jonesville is forecast to crest at 26.6 feet, according to accuweather.com.
One road was opened into Wilmington briefly, and helicopters and military trucks were bringing relief supplies into the stranded city, where hundreds of people have been rescued from the roofs of flooded homes.
More than 1,100 roads were still closed across North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper said on Tuesday, including several portions of Interstates 40 and 95. The system has speeded up on a path toward the heavily populated Northeast.