Firefighters kneel, pray after mother and baby die from falling tree

Credit PA

Credit PA

"There's no power. It's a tough situation here". Paramedics trying to reach her were blocked by debris.

"We've got a massive amount of cleanup to do", Saffo said.

After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 225 km/h earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7.15am at Wrightsville Beach, a few kilometres east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line. But its progress had slowed to a crawl of 2 miles per hour.

Cooper said nearly all the buildings in town, including homes and businesses, are going to be fine.

George Pace returned to his neighborhood and saw his home for the first time, expecting the worst, but discovering only minimal damage. "We just want prayers from everyone".

"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted during the height of the storm.

Wilmington resident Julie Terrell said she was concerned after walking to breakfast past a row of shops fortified with boards, sandbags and hurricane shutters.

"It's an emergency situation. We are the region's primary health care provider", she said. "They need to (stay at the hospital)". "Be extremely careful and stay alert". "Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-priced loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster", the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a press release.

The declaration also provides assistance to local governments for cleanup efforts following the storm, including building repairs.

Death toll from Florence rises to 7, North Carolina officials say
There have been seven storm-related deaths since Florence , then a Category-1 hurricane , made landfall Friday morning. Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm and further downgraded to a tropic storm on Friday evening.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence will eventually make a right hook to the northeast over the southern Appalachians, moving into the mid-Atlantic states and New England as a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

The storm is expected to bring historic and "catastrophic" rain and flooding, the National Hurricane Center said in an 8 a.m. briefing.

"Flash flooding will be extreme and flood waters will come up quickly and seemingly out of nowhere", the governor said earlier.

Tornadoes remain a threat, with the NHC saying that "a few tornadoes are possible in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern SC". Today, this band of intense, prolonged rainfall will move over areas that have already received between 5 and 15 inches of rain. Maximum sustained winds remained at 50 miles per hour (80 kph).

The Piedmont Triad has been on high alert since Hurricane Florence, now a tropical storm, made landfall on the North Carolina coast Friday morning. He said the gust was the strongest recorded in Wilmington since 1958. At least seven people have died, a toll authorities fear will rise as the storm crawls westward across SC.

Officials in North Myrtle Beach, where some flooding was occurring, did report some delays in their 911 emergency system, according to a news release, but their public safety personnel are still out in the community.

So far, at least three people have died because of the storm, including a mother and infant who were in a Mercer Avenue house when it was struck by a felled tree.

Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

Florence was moving west-southwest at about 5 miles per hour (7 km/h), with its center located over eastern SC. About 10 million people could be affected by the storm and more than 1 million were ordered to evacuate the coasts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

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