Mother, infant are first two confirmed deaths from Hurricane Florence

Cesar Mills
September 15, 2018

A woman and her baby were killed when a tree fell on their house and at least two other storm-related deaths were reported as Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolinas, dousing the eastern USA states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks.

Florence is about 644 kilometres wide and it's winds have dropped from a peak of 225 km/h to 165 km/h, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a Category 2.

At least five fatalities were reported Friday because of Florence, including a mother and infant.

As the storm moves inland, forecasters warned, the surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of ocean water, and days of downpours could unload more than 3 feet of rain, touching off severe flooding. The father was hospitalized with injuries.

Another person died in a storm-related death in Pender County, North Carolina, according to a spokesperson, when downed trees prevented emergency units from reaching a woman with a medical condition who called for help.

Farther up the coast, in New Bern, about 150 people waited to be rescued from flooding on the Neuse River, WXII-TV reported. "North Carolinians are resilient and we're going to pull together and get this thing done".

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the storm was "wreaking havoc" on the coast and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days". Local media said she had suffered a heart attack. "You're going to have flooding miles and miles inland", the center's director, Ken Graham, said.

More than 22,000 people fleeing the storm have taken shelter at 157 shelters open across the state.

It added the greatest threats to life came from storm-surges while "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding" was expected, with some areas receiving up to 40 inches of rainfall.

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Billy Sample, a resident stuck in the town of Carolina Beach, North Carolina, said Friday night: "The height of the storm didn't feel as bad as it is now". Trump has said, without evidence, that death total is not accurate. "I'm not sure if it's a shift in the wind or low tide - but the water has miraculously disappeared". Officials in the town of 30,000, which dates to the early 18th century, said over 100 people were rescued from floods and the downtown was under water by Friday afternoon.

The rising sea crept towards the two-storey home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro.

By Friday morning, the shore was flooded, and buildings were damaged, in video she put up on Facebook.

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

North Carolina Emergency Management warned residents on Friday to stay indoors, avoid stagnant or moving flood waters and have their emergency kits ready.

The storm's movement, not its strength, has forecasters and officials anxious.

Florence was one of two major storms on Friday.

The storm is likely to bring significant rain to the Carolinas, where some places could see upwards of 20 inches, the update said.

Other reports by GizPress

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