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Five dead from Hurricane Florence, including mother and baby, say officials

Five deaths in North Carolina have been linked to Hurricane Florence Friday, including a mother and baby who died in Wilmington.

Wilmington Police reported on Twitter that a tree fell on a house on Mercer Avenue, killing the pair around 9:30 a.m. The father was pulled from the home and transported to a local hospital with injuries, police said.

Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed one of the deaths occurred in Lenoir County, when someone was plugging in a generator, according to a press release. TV station WNCN said the 78-year-old victim and was “trying to connect two extension cords outside in the rain.”

The station reported the fourth death involved a 77-year-old Kinston man who family members said died at 8 a.m. Friday when he was “blown down by the wind” while tending dogs.

The fifth death, indirectly linked to the storm, occurred in Pender County’s Hampstead community, Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins told WWAY. NBC news reported a woman called for help, but died of a heart attack because emergency crews were unable to reach her due to trees that had fallen in the road.

Identities of the victims were not released.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm,” Cooper said in a statement. “Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days. Be extremely careful and stay alert.”

The deaths came as the storm was turning through the southeast part of the state, dumping more than 20 inches of rain in some communities. Gusts of winds in the 50 to 100 mph hour range were also reported since Hurricane Florence came ashore at 7:15 a.m. Friday, and the National Hurricane Center predicted trees would be knocked down.

The National Hurricane Center says the high winds -- combined with rain-soaked soil -- will cause many trees to fall in coming days, crashing into homes, streets and onto power lines.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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