Tornadoes in North Carolina as death toll rises to 20

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Hundreds rescued in deadly Florence floods

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Hundreds rescued in deadly Florence floods

The hurricane was "wreaking havoc" and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our for days", the governor said.

Fayetteville sits along the banks of the Cape Fear River, which is up to 53.95 feet at that location, according to the National Weather Service.

"What we are the most concerned about is, we have five major rivers that surround us, and we only have one major road into Myrtle Beach, but all of our major roads are going to be affected by this flooding within the next three to seven days", she said.

People who see price-gouging are advised to contact the state attorney general's office.

"We are pushing supplies as hard as we possibly can with the plan that (the road) may not sustain us over the next week", agency Secretary James Trogdon said.

"Even though the heavy rains have ended, the flood hazard to life and property is real".

That's the lesson learned by one North Carolina who wanted to drive to Florida to escape Florence's devastation but instead got steered into flooding that closed a stretch of Interstate 95.

Trump said nearly 20,000 military personnel and federal workers were deployed to help with the aftermath of Florence in the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic, and they would "do whatever it takes to keep the American people safe".

Rivers across North Carolina, South Carolina and southern Virginia have been pushed past their limits and hit major flood stages, in which the flooding of buildings and roads require significant evacuations.

The coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina, remained cut off by floodwaters on Thursday. Officials said the child's mother drove past barricades Sunday night and hit rushing water.

The mother managed to free Kaiden from his vehicle seat and escape the auto, but her child was quickly swept away in the deluge.

"As you can tell, they're not listening to me", he said.

As rivers swelled, state regulators and environmental groups were monitoring the threat from huge hog and poultry farms located in low-lying, flood-prone areas.

"River flooding is dynamic and it's happening all over our state", Cooper said. Rainfall totals of 26.58 inches have caused high waters all around the city, effectively cutting it off from the rest of North Carolina.

I urge you, if you don't have to drive, stay off the road."In storm-battered North Carolina, authorities said Monday morning that almost half a million power outages remained while scores of roadways across the state were still closed".

"They basically had to deal with the storm surge, loss of power, and obviously shut-down pumps, and the system completely depressurized and they haven't been able to bring that back up", he said.

Eric Tryggeseth, 59, found his home in Leland, North Carolina, without power on Monday and a tree laying in his front yard. Cheatham said eight cars derailed due to washed-out tracks.

As they loaded cushions and furniture into a trailer, the nearby Little Pee Dee River under a bridge was steadily rising. Many households have multiple people.

"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end", he said.

The deadly storm still had abundant rain and top winds around 25mph, and forecasters said it was expected to gradually pick up forward speed and complete a big turn towards the north east, which is in for as much as 6in of rain.

CNBC's Contessa Brewer reported from Lumberton, North Carolina where the River Lumber had flooded to record levels. The sandbag barrier had been built by volunteers late last week in hopes of preventing Florence's floodwaters from pouring through a spot where Hurricane Matthew had caused damage just two years ago. Emergency workers reported rescuing and evacuating more than 2,200 people and around 575 animals, he said. But Florence was not finished wreaking destruction.

Shaken after seeing waves crashing in the Neuse River just outside his house in the town of New Bern, hurricane veteran Tom Ballance wished he had evacuated.

At Fayetteville, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) inland, near the Army's sprawling Fort Bragg, the Cape Fear River had risen about 50 feet (15 meters) toward a crest predicted to be more than 25 feet (7 meters) above flood level.

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