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First Irene-Related Deaths Reported

The first deaths in the U.S. related to Hurricane Irene to be reported come from North Carolina.

The Raleigh News & Observer writes that:

"Emergency officials in Nash County said a man was crushed to death outside his home by a large limb blown down by the storm. Nash County Emergency Management Director Brian Brantley said the man was walking outside his home in a rural area of the county about 10:20 a.m. today when the limb struck him.

"An unidentified Onslow County man who was putting plywood over the windows of his home suffered a heart attack and died, said Ernie Seneca, spokesman for the N.C. Division of Emergency Management.

"Authorities say another man has been reported missing in the Cape Fear River in Castle Hayne."

The deaths underscore why authorities are strongly urging anyone in an area affected by Irene — even well inland, such as Nash County — to say inside.

Update at 6:45 p.m. ET. Fifth Death Reported:

Authorities in Virginia say a fifth death has occurred as a result of Hurricane Irene, as a tree fell on a car and killed an occupant in Brunswick County, Va. No other details were available.

Update at 2:45 p.m. ET. Fourth Death; Child Reported Killed In Virginia:

From Newport News, WVEC-TV says that "a young boy was killed after a large tree fell onto his apartment."

Update at 1:45 p.m. ET. Third Fatality Reported:

The North Carolina News Network says "a third individual was killed in Pitt County after a vehicle drove into standing water and hit a tree." That county is also not right on the coast.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.