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

A mother and infant in North Carolina were among the first reported fatalities linked to Hurricane Florence.

Wilmington, North Carolina police said the mother and her infant were killed after a tree fell on their house. The father was taken to a nearby hospital with injuries.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said another person was killed in Lenoir County, reports WTVD. The person was killed while plugging in a generator.

Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins confirmed to WWAY that a woman was killed in Hempstead, Pender County after suffering a heart attack in her home. Downed trees blocked the road, making it impossible for paramedics to get to her.

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina Friday morning, bringing howling winds up to 90 mph, reports The Associated Press. The dangerous storm surge caused damage and flooding. Over 60 people had to be pulled out of a collapsing motel in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and hundreds were saved as water levels rose.

Forecasters believe the biggest danger right now is the water, not the wind. Although the storm is now a Category 1 hurricane, it is still dumping feet of rain over coastal communities.

"It cannot be emphasized enough that the most serious hazard associated with slow-moving Florence is extremely heavy rainfall, which will cause disastrous flooding that will be spreading inland," forecasters said, reports CBS News.

Parts of the Carolinas are expected to see 20 to 30 inches of rain over the next seven days. Isolated areas could see as much as 40 inches. Storm surge could be up to 13 feet, pushing seawater as much as 2 miles inland.

Over 645,000 power outages were reported Friday morning. Duke Energy expects between 1 million to 3 million homes and businesses to lose power.

In an interview with NPR, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper assured that the state government is getting help from federal agencies, including FEMA.

"Hurricane recovery is a long-term process. It can take months and years for communities to recover," Cooper explained. "And we know that will be very expensive and will require a significant investment. And that is why it's going to be so important for us to get the federal help that we need because, you know, when you have these kinds of hurricanes, and particularly with flooding, the people who can afford it the least get hit the most."

0comments

The latest track from the National Hurricane Center has Florence staying over South Carolina for much of Saturday before morning inland and curving north, through the Northeast states. The 2 p.m. advisory reported that the storm still has sustained winds up to 75 mph. "This rainfall will produce catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding," the advisory notes.

Photo credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images