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

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The few cars out on a main street in Wilmington had to swerve to avoid fallen trees, metal debris and power lines.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast.

"Currently ~150 awaiting rescue in New Bern", City Hall said on Twitter. The father sustained injuries and was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington for medical care.

According to poweroutage.us, more than 500,000 customers in North Carolina and 50,000 in SC were without power on Friday morning, though the Weather Channel estimates up to 3 million customers could lose power in the Carolinas due to Florence. As of 2 p.m., the storm was about 35 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, N.C., and about 35 miles east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C. A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house, WECT reported.

"The National Hurricane Center said Florence is moving very slowly to the west at only 6 miles an hour, then is expected to turn to the southwest, increasing the threat for historic storm surge and catastrophic flooding to coastline areas and inland cities in North Carolina and SC".

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"NOAA Doppler weather radar data and surface observations indicate that the center of Hurricane Florence has continued to move slowly westward toward the North Carolina-South Carolina border", the weather agency said.

"Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm", Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. Although Florence is slowing, authorities warn the destruction that has already occurred is expected to get worse.

Southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC could see 20 to 30 inches of rainfall; some isolated areas could see 40 inches.

"The sun rose this morning on an extremely risky situation and it's getting worse", North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, calling Florence a "thousand-year rain event".

The homes of about 10 million were under watches or warnings for the hurricane or tropical storm conditions.

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Employees at New Bern's WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 had to abandon their studio for the "first time in history", the station posted Thursday night on Facebook.

Tom Balance, owner of a seafood restaurant in New Bern, had decided against evacuating his home and was soon alarmed to see waves coming off the Neuse and the water getting higher and higher.

Tropical Storm Isaac became Tropical Depression Isaac Friday morning.

Still, he said: "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth".

"I know North Carolinians".

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Hurricane Florence has caused some damage to Wilmington International Airport, said Gary Broughton, the airport's deputy director. The rising sea crept toward the two-story home of Tom Copeland, who lives on a spit of land surrounded by water in Swansboro.

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