The Wilmington Police Department said Friday that the two were killed when a tree fell on their house. The father was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries.
After reaching a terrifying Category 4 peak of 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the week, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles (kilometres) east of Wilmington and not far from the SC line.
In the town of New Bern, flooding began nearly immediately after the storm hit. The town's public information officer, Colleen Roberts, told CNN 150 more people were awaiting rescue and that citizens were going out in their boats to help, despite blowing waters and swift currents. By late afternoon, Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood hoped the worst was over. "We have started to see the water recede".
The center said the storm would dump as much as 40 inches (102 cm) of rain along coastal areas of the Carolinas, as well as up to 10 inches in southwestern Virginia.
But the size of the storm meant the path didn't really matter.
The Wilmington airport had a wind gust clocked at 105 miles per hour (169 kph), the highest since Hurricane Helene in 1958, the weather service said. Hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles (130 kilometres) from its centre, and tropical-storm-force winds reached out 195 miles (315 kilometres).
By early Friday morning, more than 100 people who did not heed the warnings to evacuate were rescued from their homes. As the soil becomes saturated, gusty winds will topple trees and lead to widespread power outages. The most dramatic effect of the storm hitting happened in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where part of the roof of a hotel collapsed causing 60 people, some of whom had evacuated their homes, to evacuate the hotel.
The officials say more than 1,000 millimeters of rainfall, and storm surges exceeding 3 meters, are possible in some areas until early next week.
The Triangle is under a flash flood warning until 8 p.m. Sunday.
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The center of Florence is forecast to move further inland across southeastern North Carolina and eastern SC through Saturday. He urged residents to stay inside and not get in the way of emergency workers.
The National Hurricane Center 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. "It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". Flooding also hit the Bogue Sound near Beaufort, the Pungo River at Belhaven and the Pamlico River at Washington.
The hurricane was "wreaking havoc" and could wipe out entire communities as it makes its "violent grind across our state for days", the governor said. Five hundred National Guard troops had responded to calls by 11 a.m. Friday.
Travel is extremely hazardous because of storm surge, Trogdon said, and will only get worse.
SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area.
Nearly 20 000 people had taken refuge in 157 emergency shelters, Cooper said.
Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which dropped way down from a terrifying 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.
Others who chose to stay at home perhaps regretted their decision. A US Geological Service gauge for the Trent River in New Bern was "recording 10.1 feet of inundation" as of 1 a.m.