Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning, targeting coastal areas of Virginia and the Carolinas.
Over 1 million people were ordered to evacuate on Tuesday in coastal areas of the three states with Federal Emergency Management Agency associate administrator Jeff Byard warning, “This will be a storm that creates and causes massive damage to our country.”
As of Sunday evening, 17 deaths had been reported as a result of Tropical Storm Florence.
One mother and infant child (Lesha Murphy-Johnson and her baby, Adam) just eight-months-old, died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington. The news was reported on Twitter early Friday morning. The husband in the home was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with injuries. The New York Times writes, “Rescuers spent hours trying to reach the mother and infant who died in Wilmington after they were trapped by a tree and a portion of the roof that had collapsed on them, said J.S. Mason, a deputy fire chief. Chief Mason said the two victims, who were not identified, died before they could be freed.”
Mason is reported as saying, “The sheer size of the tree was not something you could quickly cut with a chain saw…It was a very difficult rescue that required some technical equipment.”
Another woman died Friday in Pender County, North Carolina, after calling for a medical emergency at her home. Trees that had come down during the storm prevented ambulances from arriving at her home as quickly as possible. She had already passed away when they arrived. The victim reportedly died of a heart attack because emergency vehicles were not able to reach her.
According to WCVB, one man died while trying to plug in a generator in Lenoir County. The 78-year-old victim, according to WNCN, was “trying to connect two extension chords outside in the rain.” His body was found by relatives on Friday afternoon.
A fifth death resulted when a 77-year-old Kinston man was “blown down by the wind” while tending to his dogs, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The sixth death was reported in Upstate, South Carolina. According to WYFF, the death occurred when a 61-year-old woman’s vehicle hit a tree that had fallen.
Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina released a statement saying, “Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm… Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days. Be extremely careful and stay alert.”
The gusts of winds reported in these areas ranged from 50-100 mph winds, with more than 20 inches of rain in some areas. High winds are expected in the coming days, and could result in many trees falling down.