The deaths also included that of a person killed while plugging in a generator, the governor's office said. Winds knocked down trees all over. Wilmington Deputy Fire Chief Steve Mason said the victims died at the scene. It will then move along the "spine of the Appalachians". "It required a tremendous amount of heavy lifting, airbags and saws".
Outlaw said the storm surge has damaged 300 commercial buildings and 4,200 homes, and knocked out power to almost all of the city's 22,000 customers. "The evacuation was county wide but since we're not in a flood zone, we weren't really anxious about that", she told VOA.
Others were at home hoping for the best.
At first he thought the firefighters were there to help restore electricity, but when he saw police and paramedics arrive he knew it was something much more tragic.
Emergency officials warned residents that the peril had probably not passed, as the storm continued to dump torrential rain.
Outlaw said he declared a 24-hour curfew early Friday due to continuing flooding and numerous downed trees and power lines. Later in the day, trees could be seen on top of roofs, driveways and parked cars. "Florence may be weakening but will have a large storm surge". "We were anxious about the hurricane, had it continued to be as strong as what they were originally stating".
But one innovative weather report has been praised for showing exactlyhow high water levels could get thanks to the storm. Local media said the woman had suffered a heart attack.
The city of Wilmington experienced wind gusts of 105mph, the strongest for 60 years, as its 220,000 residents were plunged into darkness.
More than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it is not clear how many left.
Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70km/h and it's at a near standstill, moving west at just 6 km/h.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center.
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence have reached Wilmington, with weather officials saying the storm will bring unprecedented rain to the region.
More than 12,000 people were in shelters in North Carolina and 400 in Virginia, where the forecast was less dire. "We are stuck in the attic". The coming storm surges and heavy rains will cause severe flooding that may submerge parts of the Carolinas in up to 40 inches of rain.
"It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave". "The storm is wreaking havoc on our state".
"Cameras outside the International Space Station captured views of Hurricane Florence on September 14 at 7:41 a.m. EDT minutes after the storm made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina packing winds of 90 miles an hour", NASA said in a video description. Significant weakening was expected over the weekend.
New Bern resident Latasha Jones is one of the more fortunate ones.
With a storm surge warning in effect, the authorities urge people to prepare themselves for the disaster.