Hurricane Florence kills mother and infant

Downed trees, branches on the hurricane-lashed streets of Wilmington, North Carolina.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said during a press briefing Friday morning that the storm is expected to last another 24-36 hours.

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city of New Bern tweeted around 2 a.m. "The father was transported to (New Hanover Regional Medical Center) with injuries".

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.

At 5 p.m., Florence was centered about 50 miles west-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, and about 25 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

"Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians through early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down while it moves inland", the NHC discussion for Florence reads. "It's an uninvited brute, who doesn't wanna leave".

Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats that could be used to pluck people from the floodwaters.

UPDATE (12:15 p.m.) - A mother and infant in North Carolina died after a tree fell on their home as a result of Hurricane Florence. An estimated 1.5 million people live in the areas now under mandatory evacuation orders by state authorities.

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In southeastern coastal North Carolina into far northeastern SC up to 40 inches of rain could fall, producing "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding", said the NHC.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 175 miles from the center of the storm.

In nearby New Bern, where water levels reached at least 10 feet overnight, 150 people requested a rescue.

Heavy rain is persisting over eastern North Carolina.

In the town of New Bern, 30,000 residents stayed behind in spite of mandatory evacuation orders.

"It's like a bomb has gone off", Zaytoun told "Good Morning America" Friday. The system was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon but remained a slow-moving destructive storm.

"They've been out there for about six hours now just screaming for help", she said.

"I know North Carolinians".

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