Mother, Baby Die in Hurricane Florence After Tree Falls on Home in Wilmington

September 14, 2018 Updated: September 14, 2018

A mother and infant in North Carolina died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington amid heavy winds from Hurricane Florence.

The Wilmington Police Department confirmed the deaths on Facebook at around 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 14.

The department “can confirm the first two fatalities of Hurricane Florence in Wilmington. A mother and infant were killed when a tree fell on their house. The father was transported to NHRMC with injuries.”

The police department said earlier, “Rescue officials are on scene trying to remove the tree from off the home. No official update on the condition of the victims.”

Other details about the incident are not clear.

Hurricane Florence is moving slowly to the west and has 75 mph winds, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14. The agency is primarily warning residents about heavy storm surge and heavy rainfall.

Before weakening, the storm was a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph with higher gusts.

Another death was reported in North Carolina during the storm.

Tom Collins, the head of Pender County Emergency Management in North Carolina, said that a woman in Hampstead had a heart attack on Sept. 14 but crews could not get to her due to downed trees. Collins said they had to use a front loader to clear the roads, but a tree smashed through its windshield, according to The Associated Press.

Crews have suspended their operations in the area.

Meanwhile, the hurricane’s storm surge had “overwhelmed” New Bern, a town of about 30,000 people at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.

“The sun rose this morning on an extremely dangerous situation and it’s going to get worse,” he said at a news conference in Raleigh. “To those in the storm’s path, if you can hear me, please stay sheltered in place.”

NHC Update

In a 3 p.m. statement, the NHC said Florence is still moving slowly across southern North Carolina, and “torrential rains will continue.”

“NOAA Doppler weather radar data and surface observations indicate that the center of Hurricane Florence has continued to move slowly westward toward the North Carolina-South Carolina border,” the weather agency said.

The storm is a Category 1 with 75 mph winds and higher gusts.

Heavy rain is persisting over eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Morehead City measured 15.56 inches of rainfall so far, the NHC said.

“Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are likely over portions of the Carolinas and the southern and central Appalachians through early next week, as Florence is expected to slow down while it moves inland,” the NHC discussion for Florence reads.

Severe storm surge along the Carolina coastline will continue today and tonight.

“This surge is also likely along portions of the South Carolina coast. The greatest storm surge inundation is expected between Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and western Pamlico Sound,” the agency said.

Reuters contributed to this report.