Two journalists reporting on severe weather on the fringe of Subtropical Storm Alberto in the US have been killed after their car was hit by a tree.
Police said a large tree toppled on the TV news vehicle near Tryon, North Carolina, on Monday.
— WYFF News 4 (@wyffnews4) May 29, 2018
Station WYFF-TV of Greenville, South Carolina, said one of its news anchors, Mike McCormick, and photojournalist, Aaron Smeltzer, were killed.
The pair had just interviewed Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant as they reported on fringe storms in North Carolina, hundreds of miles from the centre of Alberto.
Mr Tennant said minutes later he got a call "and it was them".
He did not directly blame Alberto for the deaths, noting the tree became loose in ground already saturated by a week rain.
Authorities so far have not attributed any deaths or injuries directly to the storm.
My thoughts and prayers are with our friends WYFF News 4. They have lost two incredible journalists, Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer to a horrible accident. I have known Mike for many years and was... https://t.co/ufPGVM3fui— Diana Watson (@Fox_DianaWatson) May 28, 2018
It rumbled inland on Monday after striking the Gulf Coast, driving holiday beachgoers away amid heavy rains that raised a dangerous flood threat around the South.
Forecasters warned that heavy downpours from the vast storm system were increasing the potential for life-threatening flash floods across north Florida, much of Alabama and large areas of Georgia - and elsewhere around the Southeast.
I’m stunned by the death Mike McCormick. We went to UM together and were writers at @wsvn. Our business was better because of Mike. He loved journalism and wanted to make sure all sides were treated fairly and the facts came to light. @wyffnews4 https://t.co/fHZvkfRrjy— Alex DiPrato (@AlexDiPrato) May 28, 2018
The National Hurricane Centre in Miami said Alberto had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph on Monday evening and was crawling north at 10 mph as it began taking aim at the Southeast.
Potentially life-threatening rough surf and rip currents continued on the northern Gulf Coast after Alberto rolled up big waves and tides.
Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading were banned as Alberto disrupted long holiday weekend plans for millions.
They were sweet friends. They were talented colleagues. Now they are gone... far too soon. Praying for all who loved Aaron Smeltzer and Mike McCormick 💔💔💔💔
WYFF news crew dies after tree falls on vehicle in Polk Co. https://t.co/Qbbb7ndOno— Amy Wood 7 News (@TVAmy) May 28, 2018
The storm also forced some Memorial Day tributes to be cancelled across Florida's Panhandle.
Safety was the priority, but the decision was still a "heart-breaker," said Tom Rice, a 29-year-old Army veteran who leads the organisations that had planned a ceremony Monday at Beal Memorial Cemetery in Fort Walton Beach.
Elsewhere, Florida's Division of Emergency Management said, about 2,600 customers were without power for a time in northwestern Florida on Monday.