Also, one person was killed while plugging in a generator, and a man was knocked to the ground while outside and died, authorities said.
The worst of the storm's fury had yet to reach coastal SC, where emergency managers said it was not too late for people to get out.
At 11 a.m., the center of Florence was about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Wilmington, its winds down to 80 mph (130 kmh), according to the hurricane center.
Florence plowed into the Carolinas and lumbered slowly inland on Friday, knocking down trees, gorging rivers, dumping sheets of rain and leaving five people dead before it was downgraded to a tropical storm still capable of wreaking havoc. The father was pulled from the home and transported to a local hospital with injuries, police said. When they got to the home, the woman was deceased, Chad McEwen, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.
Later downgraded to a tropical storm, slow-moving Florence arrived over North and SC just after 7am local time on Friday, bringing torrential rain and severe floods.
On Friday, coastal streets in the Carolinas flowed with frothy ocean water, and pieces of torn-apart buildings flew through the air.
"Just because the storm is gone, it doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet", he said. All of the supplies from that shelter were coordinated with the school division and will remain part of the supplies for York County schools, Whitaker said.
"I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said.
"These are folks who chose to stay and ride out the storm for whatever reason, despite having a mandatory evacuation", she said.
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Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported.
Videos on social media show the water reaching the windows of some houses in the Belhaven area.
In Morehead City, Brooke Kittrell rode out the storm Thursday and Friday with her boyfriend aboard their docked boat, hoping it didn't break loose and slam something.
"Since the track is slower and the storm will reside in the area for a longer period of time rainfall amounts are expected to be extreme", Reid Hawkins, science officer for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said in a statement.
"I honestly cried", Kittrell said.
The body of the 78-year-old man was discovered by family members on Friday morning. But Outlaw said on Friday morning it's "not a bad idea to get in your vehicle and get west of I-95" if residents feel they can safely do so.
North Carolina Emergency Management warned residents on Friday to stay indoors, avoid stagnant or moving flood waters and have their emergency kits ready.
One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now". Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help.
Florence was one of two major storms on Friday.
As it approaches OH it will become a post-tropical storm before swinging to the northeast on a path to Nova Scotia in the middle of next week.