The hurricane hit the coast around 7:15 a.m. ET, after being downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 1 storm the day before.
The police department said earlier, "Rescue officials are on scene trying to remove the tree from off the home. Two people in Wilmington were killed when a tree fell on their home", Cooper said. The father sustained injuries and was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington for medical care.
In the town of Hampstead, emergency responders going to a call for cardiac arrest Friday morning found their path blocked by downed trees. Local media said the woman had suffered a heart attack.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump stands by tweets questioning Puerto Rico death toll: "NO WAY" Trump pushes back on ex-lawyer putting out book, cites "attorney-client privilege" Wealthiest Republican supporter in OH quits party MORE plans to travel to areas affected by Hurricane Florence next week once conditions improve and his visit won't disrupt recovery efforts, the White House said Friday.
Its storm surge and the prospect of 1 to 3½ feet of rain were considered a bigger threat than its winds, which had dropped off from an alarming 140 miles per hour - Category 4 - earlier in the week.
At 2:30 a.m. ET on Friday, the City of New Bern tweeted out: "Currently ~ 150 awaiting rescue in New Bern".
He picked up 10 people on one run and took them to a shelter.
"I built this house myself, so I'm not anxious at all, I know it's solid", he said.
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"In a matter of seconds, my house was flooded up to the waist, and now it is to the chest", said Perry, who was trapped early Friday with three relatives.
Tom Balance, owner of a seafood restaurant in New Bern, had decided against evacuating his home and was soon alarmed to see waves coming off the Neuse and the water getting higher and higher. We have 2 out-of-state on the way to help us. He said parts of North Carolina had seen storm surges - the bulge of seawater pushed ashore by the hurricane - as high as 10 feet.
"Currently ~150 awaiting rescue in New Bern", City Hall said on Twitter. But there were times she thought they wouldn't survive, she told CNN.
A state of emergency has been declared in five coastal states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.
"I honestly cried", Kittrell said.
North Carolina Emergency Management warned residents on Friday to stay indoors, avoid stagnant or moving flood waters and have their emergency kits ready.
Yet another tropical storm formed in the Atlantic Thursday night.