Hurricane Florence: Woman, baby die after tree falls on house

Hurricane Florence slams North Carolina with rain and wind as it closes in on southeast coast

Forecasters said "catastrophic" freshwater flooding was expected along waterways far from the coast of the Carolinas.

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.

"A USGS gauge in Emerald Isle, N.C., recently recorded 6.1 feet above normal water levels", the National Hurricane Center said of the storm surge early Friday.

More than 440,000 homes and businesses were without power in North and SC early on Friday, utility officials said.

More trees will come down, more power lines will fall, and the number of power outages will go up, said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center.

As Hurricane Florence pounds the Carolina coast, a Wilmington, North Carolina, resident joined "Fox & Friends First" to explain why he has deliberately ignored mandatory evacuation orders. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 3.5m.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 36 trillion litres, enough to cover the North Carolina to a depth of about 25 cm.

One resident, 67-year-old Linda Smith, told the MailOnline: "We're a little anxious about the storm surge so we came down to see what the river is doing now".

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The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says that as the hurricane hit the coast overnight, officers "responded to 108 calls for service and 30 collisions".

Forecasters said conditions will continue to deteriorate as the storm makes its way slowly inland.

At least four people, including a mother and her baby, were confirmed dead on Friday night as Hurricane Florence brought a "biblical" deluge to the U.S. east coast.

The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958.

On the mainland in New Bern, authorities said more than 100 people had to be saved from floods and that the downtown area was underwater. But that, combined with the storm's slowing forward movement and heavy rains, had Gov. Roy Cooper warning of an impending disaster.

As of 2 a.m., Florence was centered about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence already has inundated coastal streets with ocean water and left tens of thousands without power, and more is to come.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, next to Camp Lejeune, firefighters and police fought wind and rain as they went door-to-door to pull people out of the Triangle Motor Inn after the structure began to crumble and the roof started to collapse.

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