Five dead in Carolinas as Florence brings ´epic´ floods

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A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The father was taken to hospital, reportedly in a critical condition. A woman in Pender County, North Carolina, died from a heart attack after calling emergency services, as paramedics could not reach her because of fallen trees.

"We're helping out a lot of people today", says Craven County Emergency Services spokesperson Amber Parker.

The station reported the fourth death involved a 77-year-old Kinston man who family members said died at 8 a.m. Friday when he was "blown down by the wind" while tending dogs.

"For overall damage it will be hard at the end of the day, I think, to find a rival for this storm", said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

According to Duke Energy, the largest electrical provider in the Carolinas, between 1 and 3 million people in South and North Carolina may be left without power after Hurricane Florence.

The storm made landfall at Wrightsville Beach at 7:15 a.m., with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Ben Johnson, a resident of the town of Belhaven on the Pantego River, shared shocking videos to showcase the devastating effects the Florence-triggered floodings had caused in the area.

"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending", Cooper said.

Mother and Infant Among First Reported Fatalities as Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall
More than 3,000 inmates at North Carolina prisons and juvenile detention centers were moved out of the storm's path. Once a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 225 km/h, the hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 on Thursday night.

New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones. They ventured out in life jackets into the waste-deep water to tie the boat and another floating by to a tree.

Eudy and his family stayed home in New Bern partly to protect their house. "If the number seems really insane high, you always have to have some suspicion until we can actually get out and verify it". His mom remembers Hurricane Hazel, when the water did not rise as high as his fifth step, where it was Thursday night.

The National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon, but warned it would dump as much as 30 to 40 inches of rain on the southeastern coast of North Carolina and into the northeastern coast of SC in spots.

More than 60 people, including many children, were evacuated from a hotel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after strong winds collapsed part of the roof. Atlantic Beach, located on the state´s Outer Banks barrier islands, had received 30 inches (76 cm) of rain, the US Geological Survey said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "The President is expected to travel to areas affected by the storm early to middle of next week, once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts". Trump planned a visit to the region next week.

North Carolina utilities estimated that as many as 2.5 million state residents could be left without power, the state's Department of Public Safety said.

Saffo said it could be longer than two weeks before power is fully restored.

Florence will track through SC through Saturday night, and then up into western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee on Sunday. Gradual weakening was expected Friday night, the hurricane center said.

Tropical Storm Florence is continuing to dump unsafe amounts of rain as it continues its slow slog across the Carolinas. Super Typhoon Mangkhut was expected to hit an area in the Philippines on Saturday that would affect 5.2 million people.

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