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Three dead as Hurricane Florence batters U.S. East Coast

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — Hours after Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday in the U.S. state of North Carolina, a mother and infant were killed by a fallen tree on their house while another woman died of a heart attack since emergency crews could not reach her due to fallen trees in road.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the hurricane was “wreaking havoc” on the U.S. East Coast and will make its “violent grind across our state for days.”

“Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow and relentless,” he said. “It’s an uninvited brute who doesn’t want to leave.”

The National Weather Service said 14 to 15 inches of rain has already fallen north of Swansboro, North Carolina.

The storm surge of up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) will be “life threatening” and rainfall of up to 40 inches (101.6 cm) will mean “catastrophic” flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, as well as Washington D.C., declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, there are 5.25 million residents in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million in places under tropical storm warnings or watches.

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