Hurricane Florence pummeled North Carolina, making landfall Friday morning with stormsurges and wind gusts before contributing to at least five deaths.
Authorities have confirmed those storm-related deaths, including a mother and her infant child who died after a tree fell on their home in New Hanover County, where the storm hit Friday morning with a 105 mph wind gust, the strongest wind in the city since 1958.
The baby was about 8 months old, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said in a press conference. The mother and infant were not extracted from the home alive, said Steve Mason, deputy chief for the Wilmington Fire Department.
The child's father was transported to a hospital with injuries, police said.
A third person died nearby in coastal Pender County, North Carolina, where an official called it a medical fatality but did not elaborate.
Another two people died in the city of Kinston, said Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted at his home while attempting to connect two extension cords outside in the rain, Dail said. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper had previously said that a person in Lenoir County was killed while plugging in a generator.
A 77-year-old in Lenoir County is believed to have died after he was blown away by heavy winds while attempting to check on his hunting dogs, Dail said. The man's family found his body Friday morning at his home, Dail said.
Flood conditions will worsen through the relentless rainfall over the next couple days, officials warned. The system was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday afternoon but remained a slow-moving destructive storm.
Cooper told ABC News' David Muir that residents should continue to shelter in place, even though Florence is no longer a hurricane, because roads are covered in debris and water, and rescues are still taking place in coastal areas.
"There's a great temptation to want to go back east and to view you property," he said. "Do not go, and stay in place."
Rain forecasts show an additional 10 to 20 inches possible on top of the 10 to 20 inches that have already fallen. North Carolina's Newport and Morehead City have seen about 19 inches of rain so far.
"The sun rose this morning on an extremely dangerous situation and it’s getting worse,” Cooper said, calling Florence a "thousand-year rain event.”
Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous agreed, telling Muir, "I see a biblical proportion flood event that's going to occur. I see the beach communities' being inundated with water and destruction that will be pretty, pretty epic."
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As the rough winds toppled trees and power lines Friday, power was knocked out to more than 800,000 customers in North and South Carolina. Officials are predicting that potentially 2.5 million customers could be without power as the storm continues on.