It has caused catastrophic flooding since arriving as a category one hurricane on Friday.
Some towns have already seen 2ft (60cm) of rain in two days, with totals forecast to top 3.5ft (1m) in places.
It is feared that more communities could become deluged as the storm crawls west at only 2mph (3km/h).
"This system is unloading epic amounts of rainfall, in some places measured in feet and not inches," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Saturday.
He urged against residents attempting to return home, warning that "all roads in the state are at risk of floods".
A disaster has been declared by US President Donald Trump in eight counties in North Carolina - a move that will help free up federal funding for recovery efforts.
The president may travel to the region next week, the White House says.