Mother and Infant Among First Reported Fatalities as Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall

Wilmington Police confirmed that a mother and her infant died when a tree fell on their home.

Tropical Storm Florence trudged inland on Saturday, flooding rivers and towns, toppling trees and cutting power to almost a million homes and businesses as it dumped huge amounts of rain on North and SC, causing five deaths. In Craven County, authorities say they received more than 150 telephone calls to rescue people in the historic town of New Bern because water had entered their homes.

Parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 3 metres, he said.

"This storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days", Cooper said.

As the storm hovered around eight miles north of Myrtle Beach in SC, residents in the city of Conway, a few miles from the storm's eye, anxious that the Waccamaw river which surrounds the city would soon burst its banks.

Hurricane Florence, weakened but still unsafe, has crashed into the Carolinas on Friday as a giant, slow-moving storm that stranded residents with floodwaters and swamped part of the town of New Bern at the beginning of what could be a days-long deluge. Duke Energy, the area's biggest utility company, said that figure could rise to three million and restoring power could take weeks.

With tropical storm-force winds swirling 350 miles wide, Florence continued deluging North and SC on Saturday morning after pushing surging seas far ashore. A 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said.

Accuweather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said the worst is far from over. In addition to the flash flood and flooding threat, landslides are also possible in the higher terrain of the southern and central Appalachians across western North Carolina into southwest Virginia.

Winds bent trees towards the ground and raindrops flew sideways as Florence moved in for an extended stay, with enough of its killer winds swirling overseas to maintain its power.

Florence came ashore more than 24 hours ago. The figure for SC was 170,000.

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A tornado watch was issued for eastern North Carolina.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster asked people to remain patient during a last-minute news conference before Hurricane Florence begins to impact the state.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people, and Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Charlotte Observer that about 200 had been rescued by 5 a.m. Residents reached out for help through the night by phone and social media.

"I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.

As Florence moves further inland over the coming days, the storm is expected to gradually weaken.

"While the weather conditions have improved, motorists should be cautious of fallen trees, downed power lines, and standing water in and around roadways".

Forecasters say catastrophic freshwater flooding is expected over parts of North Carolina and SC ahead.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. "And we had no belief it would be as significant an event as it was, ” he said. “This is a 500- or 1,000-year event. ”Eudy´s family has lived in New Bern since the 1850s, he said".

"The fact that there haven't been more deaths and damage is fantastic and a blessing", said Rebekah Roth, walking around Wilmington's Winoca Terrace neighborhood on Saturday. A town spokesman said between 60 and 75 people were awaiting rescue on Saturday.

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