FLORENCE: Tree falls on Wilmington home, killing mother, child

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach South Carolina early Friday

Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach South Carolina early Friday

"This storm will bring destruction", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

One video sees a gas station failing to withstand the force of Florence's winds, with a BP station in Topsail Beach, North Carolina losing its canopy as the Catgory 1 storm blew through the area.

In one incident, a mother, 41, and her 7-month-old son were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.

The father was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment, where no update was provided on his condition.

Hurricane Florence claimed the lives of four people after reaching the southeast USA coast on Friday, and has left hundreds of thousands without power as it lingers over the Carolinas.

By early afternoon, Florence's winds had weakened to 75 mph, just barely a hurricane, but the storm itself had slowed to a crawl as it traced the North Carolina-South Carolina shoreline, punishing coastal communities for hours on end.

According to the Weather Prediction Center, Wrightsville Beach had received over 18 inches of rain from 2 p.m. ET Thursday to 10 a.m. ET Friday.

A downed tree blocks a street in Wilmington after being uprooted by Florence's strong winds.

"It's the worst feeling in the world to hear people yelling for help and you can't do anything", she said. The Carteret Country Sheriff's Office confirmed that two deaths initially reported as a result of Florence in North Carolina were a result of an apparent murder-suicide.

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"Rescue workers are working in unsafe conditions that will only get worse today", said Cooper, who called the storm a "1,000-year rain event" for parts of southeastern North Carolina.

Amber Parker, spokesperson for Craven County, North Carolina, tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that officials are happy to have daylight on their side Friday. To this point, fallen trees have resulted in more Brunswick closures than flooded roads, and that could continue until the tropical storm winds disappear into the weekend.

Forecasters said Florence's surge could cover all but a sliver of the Carolina coast under as much as 11 feet of sea water.

As of Friday, the casino had reserved over 600 room nights for storm victims; another 200 families were expected to arrive on Sunday.

As Hurricane Florence slams North Carolina, the riverfront city of New Bern is already feeling the impacts.

The storm has claimed at least five lives, two of them in Wilmington, NC.

Florence's circulation was pushing water ashore, especially north of its eye, in coastal or riverside towns like New Bern and Belhaven, turning land to lakes. Rainfall totals will be similar to those in hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in 1999, Chris Wamsley of the National Weather Service said Friday morning.

"I about jumped out of my skin", he said in a phone interview Friday morning. Then it will swing to the northeast in the middle of next week on a path to the Atlantic Ocean near Nova Scotia, where it will be an extratropical low with gale-force winds.

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