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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 U.S. states with torrential rain and causing rivers to burst their banks.

"WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington".

But forecasters said its extreme size meant it could batter the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds for almost a full day.

Five people, including an infant, were killed as Florence battered the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Hurricane Florence is bringing widespread flooding, heavy rains and strong winds to many coastal areas of North and SC. The child's father was taken to a hospital. In the state´s Pender County, a woman died of a heart attack; paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

In New Bern, population 29,000, flooding on the Neuse River trapped people, and Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Charlotte Observer that about 200 had been rescued by 5 a.m. Residents reached out for help through the night by phone and social media.

"We've got some damage that's occurring", he said.

Roy Cooper, governor for North Carolina, said: "The sun rose this morning on an extremely unsafe situation and it's going to get worse". Jennifer Morales, 20, said there was 3 feet of water in her home.

"You evacuate from water", Cline said. Numerous evacuees took their pets.

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The storm was expected to move across parts of southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.

Hurricane Florence has begun battering it's way through the North Carolina coastline with heavy rain and high winds in what people fear could lead to the deaths of "a lot of people". "The water started rising and we evacuated nearly an entire TV station in about 15 minutes".

Hurricane Florence became a deadly storm Friday, claiming three lives in Hampstead and Wilmington as it roared into, and stalled over, the Wilmington region.

And the storm is still expected to bring catastrophic winds, rain, storm surges and flooding, the National Hurricane Center briefing said. Calls for help multiplied as the wind picked up and the tide rolled in.

"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said. The city of New Bern tweeted to its residents early Friday morning, "We have 2 out-of-state FEMA teams here for swift water rescue". She died Friday morning.

In Jacksonville, North Carolina, city officials posted photos * a href="https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleNC.gov/?tn-str=k*F" target="_blank" rel="noopener" *of toppled gas pumps and a downed trees early Friday, warning residents to take shelter and avoid roadways. Parts of the Carolinas could see 50 cm to 76 cm, with isolated areas getting 101 cm, over seven days along the coast.

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".

Florence is one of four named storms in the Atlantic.


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