WILMINGTON, N.C. - At least five people, including a mother and her infant, have died in North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence slowly moved into South Carolina, officials said Friday.
After coming ashore in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday afternoon and trudged into South Carolina as night came.
Two people died in Wilmington after a tree fell on their house, the city's police department said.
"WPD can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane #Florence in Wilmington. A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house," police tweeted Friday afternoon. "The father was transported to (New Hanover Regional Medical Center) with injuries."
The hospital said it has received three injured patients.
In the town of Hampstead, emergency responders going to a call for cardiac arrest Friday morning found their path blocked by downed trees. When they got to the home, the woman was deceased, Chad McEwen, assistant county manager for Pender County, said.
The fourth person who died was a man in Lenoir County who was hooking up a generator, Gov. Roy Cooper's office said. Another man in the county who was checking on his dogs outside was killed in what his family thought was a wind-related death Friday morning, emergency officials said.
Storm surges, punishing winds and rain are turning some towns into rushing rivers -- and the storm is expected to crawl over parts of the Carolinas into the weekend, pounding some of the same areas over and over.
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. The house is shaking back and forth much more violently than when the eyewall came through."
Sample said that when he looked outside of his house, which is about 1,000 yards from the beach, he saw the rain pooling up on the street and what looked like storm surge coming up the road.
In the besieged city of New Bern, rescuers had plucked more than 200 people from rising waters by midmorning Friday, but about 150 more had to wait as conditions worsened and a storm surge reached 10 feet, officials said. That number was down to 40 later in the day.