FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina – Three people have died in the state of North Carolina along with another in South Carolina due to Tropical Storm Florence moving through the region, which raises the number of known fatalities to nine, authorities reported on Saturday.
The police department of Fayetteville, North Carolina, said on Twitter that a mandatory evacuation order is in place for citizens of Cumberland County, the city of Fayetteville, and the town of Wade.
“All residents within one mile of the banks of the Cape Fear and Little River should leave IMMEDIATELY,” the tweet read.
A 60-year-old woman died this Friday when her car hit a tree blown down by the winds, said South Carolina emergency management spokesman Antonio Diggs.
This is the first death reported in South Carolina, where the tropical storm is moving slowly forward at 2 mph (4 kph) some 45 miles (70 km) from the city of Florence, according to the latest bulletin from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Added to this are two people who died due to flooding and pools of water on the highways of Duplin County, North Carolina, which led the local sheriff to decree a curfew from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am the next morning, the local Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.
These new victims are added to those on Friday in North Carolina after Florence, weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, made landfall in the early hours.
The first two fatalities – a woman and her baby – died after a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina, the local police force said via Twitter.
The baby’s father survived and was taken to a nearby hospital, local authorities said.
A woman suffered a heart attack in Hampstead and the medical team was unable to get to her in time because of the fallen trees blocking the roads.
Other fatalities were two seniors in Lenoir County.
One of them, 78, died while trying to plug in a power generator, and the other, 77, was found dead outside his home.
Local authorities believe a gust of wind knocked him down, dealing him a fatal blow, when he went outside to see how his hunting dogs were faring.
Despite the fact that Florence is weakening, Florence continues to threaten with deadly flooding and overflowing rivers in the Carolinas, Virginia and West Virginia in the coming days, according to the NHC.
Florence is expected to gradually weaken further and become a tropical depression by Saturday night, according to the NHC’s latest bulletin.
Nearly 1 million customers in the southeastern United States are still without electricity on Saturday as a result of Florence.