5 dead in Hurricane Florence, including mom and infant

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That means its torrential rains will be felt harder.

The storm's center is expected to pass the Midlands - still under a tropical storm warning - sometime late Saturday.

"We're in one of these (rain) bands".

"What happens is that we rescue some people and then we find out there are still more who need it", Outlaw said. "But every neighborhood seems to have been affected".

"It's unsafe, a lot of trees", Charlebois said.

"It's an emergency situation".

Accuweather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said the worst is far from over. The child's father was taken to a hospital.

The White House said President Donald Trump would visit hurricane-hit areas next week "once it is determined his travel will not disrupt any rescue or recovery efforts". It further provides assistance to individuals for rent payments for emergency lodging, home repairs, payments to cover unemployment caused by the storm and other assistance, the release said.

The National Hurricane Centre said Florence will eventually break up over the southern Appalachians and make a right hook to the northeast, its rainy remnants moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England by the middle of next week. Officials in South Carolina's Craven County say conditions are much worse than some residents expected, with almost 500 people calling the local emergency services hotline asking for help.

By Saturday morning a normally tranquil stream known as Crab Tree Swamp was flowing fast and was just a foot from engulfing a bridge which provides north-south access to Conway.

The National Weather Service says 14 to 15 inches of rain has already fallen north of Swansboro, North Carolina.

The rest of SC and North Carolina into southwestern Virginia will experience 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 15 inches.

One potential road out was blocked as flooding forced the shutdown of a 16-mile (26-kilometre) stretch of Interstate 95, the main highway along the Eastern Seaboard.

Officials have warned that the life-threatening storm could come with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph and carries a risk of "catastrophic" flooding.

The Wilmington region could see "storm totals between 30 and 40 inches along the North Carolina coastal areas south of Cape Hatteras".

He said flooding will continue for days and the full magnitude of the hurricane is unknown.

Tropical Storm Florence continues to weaken as it dumps risky amounts of rain across the Carolinas. The flooding began on barrier islands in North Carolina and then spread into coastal and river communities there and in SC, swamping the white sands and golf courses in North Myrtle Beach. It is forecast to crawl through SC into Saturday before turning west and then north across the western Carolinas and toward the Ohio Valley by Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Since midnight, peak wind gusts reached 32 miles per hour in Raleigh and 47 miles per hour in Fayetteville. He said the gust was the strongest recorded in Wilmington since 1958.

Rain in New Bern has stopped, at least for the time being, and the focus will soon shift to cleaning up the downed trees and power lines.

Wilmington Police confirmed that a mother and her infant died when a tree fell on their home.

By 2 p.m., more than 658,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, and the Triangle had begun to experience outages. Shortly afterward, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts to 105 miles per hour at Wilmington International Airport, the highest wind gust measured in Wilmington since Hurricane Helene hit the port city in 1958.

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