As of Thursday morning, forecast models showed the storm bringing more rain than originally thought - officials now predict 35 inches of rain will fall in a two-day period as Florence, now a Category 2 storm with 115 miles per hour sustained winds, will stall over Wilmington after making landfall early Friday morning.
More than 60 people had to be pulled from a collapsing cinderblock motel at the height of the storm. Hundreds more were rescued elsewhere from rising water.
Parker says that while she's holding up OK so far, she worries about her friends and others in the community, and about how Florence might impact her home.
Response teams had already "brought in busloads" of rescued people from areas including Fairfield Harbor, New Bern, Adams Creek and Township 7, she said. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU".
Rainfall will be one of the most destructive elements of hurricane Florence, with heavy rain triggering risky flash floods and potential landslides.
As of 9 p.m. EST, North Carolina Emergency Management reported that 102,308 customers were without power - even before Florence made landfall.
There were no immediate reports of storm-related deaths or serious injuries.
It will likely come on shore Friday near Wilmington, North Carolina.
After making landfall near Wilmington, Florence is expected to head west across SC before making a turn toward the north over the next few days.
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. Although the storm has weakened to a Category 2, it's still expected to bring some bad weather to the area this weekend. By that time, emergency crews had already been deployed to parts of the state where people were trapped by floodwaters.
"I've been through hurricanes before", he says.
Last night the 400-mile wide storm had knocked out power to half a million homes and businesses, and left many people stranded in their flooded homes.
Another woman died in Pender County, North Carolina, after suffering a medical condition. "We're working with our partners to provide food, water and snacks".
Many residents along the coast were issued mandatory evacuations, with forecasters warning of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding".
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.