Mother, baby dead as Hurricane Florence drenches the Carolinas

The first deaths attributed to the storm were reported Friday, including a mother and child who were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington.

Wilmington police tweeted that the father was transported to the hospital with unspecified injuries.

Utility companies said millions were expected to lose power and that restoring it could take weeks.

"Plant procedures call for the reactors to be shut down before the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds", agency spokesman Joey Ledford told CNN.

"We are saddened by the sudden passing of one of our community, and our hearts go out to the family and friends who are now grieving during such an already stressful period", Amanda Hutcheson, the Brunswick County Government public information officer wrote in an email.

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

Residents can be seen wading through deep floodwater in New Bern as they attempt to retrieve their belongings. "Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days".

New Bern Police Lt. David Daniels said early Friday morning that between 150 and 200 people had been rescued so far, with others still waiting for help.

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NBC News is reporting five deaths as a result of the storm. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says more than 16 inches of rain have fallen at locations in southeast North Carolina and another 20 to 25 inches is on the way.

The hurricane came ashore early Friday, pounding the state with torrential rain and high winds.

The town of Oriental, North Carolina, had gotten more than 18 inches of rain just a few hours into the deluge, while Surf City had 14 inches and it was still coming down.

Hurricane Florence is moving at a speed of 6mph, and as of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) update at 5am AST (10am BST), was located 10 miles east of Wilmington.

Tropical Storm Isaac became Tropical Depression Isaac Friday morning.

Over 770,000 were without power in North Carolina Friday night. The system was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon but remained a slow-moving destructive storm.

"We've rescued over 100 people in New Bern, NC; people from Jacksonville, NC, had to be rescued from a hotel", Cooper said, describing efforts to save residents north of Wilmington, where high floods have already hit.

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