A day earlier, Wilmington's entire population of 120,000 people was cut off by flooding.
A power outage at a wastewater treatment plant in Wilmington resulted in partially treated sewage water being released into the Cape Fear River, said Reggie Cheatham, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Emergency Management.
Flooded roads have also prevented some North Carolina farmers from accessing their fields and livestock to assess damage, said Andrea Ashby, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
"The state of North Carolina is going to be with New Bern and Craven County for the long haul", said Cooper. He urged residents who were evacuated from the hardest-hit areas to stay away because of closed roads and catastrophic flooding that submerged entire communities.
City officials estimate there has been $6 million in damages so far, Stephens said.
"Do not come here", New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White said.
The storm's aftermath created ideal conditions for snakes, he said, "so I will be watching my feet closely until things reach equilibrium again". More than 23 inches of rain fell in Wilmington.
"At this time, things are moving as well as can be in the city", he said. The smell of cracked pine trees wafted through hard-hit neighborhoods.
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A tractor trailer sits on its side after being washed over Route 301 from flood waters caused by Hurricane Florence near Dillon, South Carolina, U.S. September 17, 2018. Harvey's total of 60.58 inches (60.5 centimetres) past year in Texas is No. 1.
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"It's all kind of a blur", said Monroe, the sky overhead sunny and bright after the rain finally stopped.
As of 2 p.m. Monday, it is a tropical depression.
The storm brought up to 40 inches of rain to some parts of southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC, according to the National Weather Service.
The dead included a one-year-old boy who was swept away after his mother drove into floodwaters and lost grip on him as they tried to escape their vehicle.
An 88-year-old man was also found dead in Union County on Monday, next to a vehicle that had been submerged in the floods.
Numerous roads across eastern North Carolina were blocked by fallen trees and flooding including parts of I-95, a major north-south artery. In all, about 420,000 homes and businesses in three states were in the dark.