‘Going to continue its violent grind across our state for days….’
(Mark Price, Matthew Martinez and Brian Murphy, The Charlotte Observer) There have been 11 deaths in North Carolina and three in South Carolina linked to Hurricane Florence.
Wilmington Police reported on Twitter that a tree fell on a house on Mercer Avenue, killing a mother and baby around 9:30 a.m. Friday. The father was pulled from the home and transported to a local hospital with injuries, police said.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed one of the deaths occurred in Lenoir County, when someone was plugging in a generator, according to a press release. TV station WNCN said the 78-year-old victim and was “trying to connect two extension cords outside in the rain.”
The station reported the fourth death involved a 77-year-old Kinston man who family members said died at 8 a.m. Friday when he was “blown down by the wind” while tending dogs.
The fifth death, indirectly linked to the storm, occurred in Pender County’s Hampstead community, Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins said. The woman called for help, but died of a heart attack because emergency crews were unable to reach her because of trees that had fallen in the road.
Identities of the victims were not released.
“Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm,” Cooper said in a statement. “Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days. Be extremely careful and stay alert.”
A 61-year-old woman died in South Carolina when the vehicle she was driving hit a fallen tree on Highway 18 near Union, The Associated Press reported. The tree was about 6 feet above the road surface and the vehicle’s roof is what struck the tree, Capt. Kelley Hughes of the South Carolina Highway Patrol told The Associated Press.
Three people died in Duplin County “due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways,” the Duplin County Sherrif’s Office announced Saturday.
An 81-year-old man in Wayne County who fell and struck his head while packing to evacuate Friday is being counted as a storm-related death by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh, the Associated Press reported. A husband and wife who died in a house fire in Cumberland County on Friday are also being counted as linked to the storm, according to the Associated Press and The Fayetteville Observer.
The Horry County Coroner’s Office in South Carolina confirmed that Debra Collins Rion, 61, and Mark Carter King, 63, died Friday night from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator, the Mrytle Beach Sun News reported.
The deaths came as the storm was turning through the southeast part of the state, dumping more than 20 inches of rain in some communities. Gusts of winds in the 50 to 100 mph hour range were also reported since Hurricane Florence came ashore at 7:15 a.m. Friday, and the National Hurricane Center predicted trees would be knocked down.
A person died inside the West Brunswick High School shelter Thursday morning, but that death was “not related to the storm,” according to Amanda Hutcheson, a Brunswick County spokeswoman.
“We are saddened by the sudden passing of one of our community, and our hearts go out to the family and friends who are now grieving during such an already stressful period,” Hutcheson said in a statement. “An investigation into the cause of death is underway, but it appears there is no reason for others at the shelter to worry. Staff and responders at the shelters are committed to providing a safe location to citizens during the storm.”
Carteret County reported two deaths on Saturday, but in a later news release said sheriff’s deputies and Army National Guard soldiers responding to a home found Pauly Lewis and his wife, Alicia Lewis dead “in an apparent murder/suicide.”
The National Hurricane Center says the high winds—combined with rain-soaked soil—will cause many trees to fall in coming days, crashing into homes, streets and onto power lines.
©2018 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.