The father was injured in the incident and was transported to a hospital, officials said. No other information was given.
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 7:15 a.m.at Wrightsville Beach, a few miles east of Wilmington, not far from the SC line, coming ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline.
Storm surge of up to 13 feet will be "life threatening" and rainfall of up to 40 inches will mean "catastrophic" flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center. The town of Oriental, North Carolina, got more than 20 inches of rain just a few hours into the deluge.
"I'm anxious about what I might find when I go home, though", she said.
Forecasters believe the biggest danger right now is the water, not the wind.
A view of Hurricane Florence is shown churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west, north-westerly direction heading for the eastern coastline of the United States. Also, a 77-year-old man was apparently knocked down by the wind and died after going out to check on his hunting dogs, Lenoir County authorities said, and the governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain.
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The National Hurricane Center is predicting the storm will produce "catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding". The winds may increase a bit Saturday night, possibly gusting over 40mph, especially in the northern/eastern CSRA.
It is expected to move across parts of south-eastern North Carolina and eastern SC on Friday and Saturday, then head north over the western Carolinas and central Appalachian Mountains early next week, the NHC said.
Preparing for the worst, about 9,700 National Guard troops and civilians were deployed with high-water vehicles, helicopters and boats.
Florence should continue losing strength as it menders along the coast, weakening further as the storm travels across inland SC on Saturday, the weather service said.
Keith Acre of North Carolina's Department of Emergency Management said: "This has been a really large evacuation and sheltering operation, probably the largest we've done, so that has not been an east lift".
Downed trees, branches on the hurricane-lashed streets of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The group, which included an infant, children and pets, have been taken to the Jacksonville Center for Public Safety after portions of the roof collapsed. The top comment on our story says "Let it go down in history that North Carolina single-handedly managed to meme-roast a Category 4 Hurricane off course..."
"It looks heavy outside", she said.