Aaron Smeltzer and Mike McCormick, employees at WYFF News 4 in South Carolina.CreditWYFF

A television anchor and a photojournalist for a broadcast news station in South Carolina died Monday after a tree fell and crushed their sport utility vehicle while they were out covering the severe weather generated by Subtropical Storm Alberto, the authorities and station officials said.

The anchor, Mike McCormick, and the photojournalist, Aaron Smeltzer, worked for WYFF News 4 based in Greenville, S.C., and were about 30 miles north of there in North Carolina on Monday afternoon when the authorities say the tree struck their S.U.V. as they drove along Highway 176.

When fire personnel arrived around 2:30 p.m., they found the S.U.V. in drive with the engine running, Chief Geoffrey Tennant of the Fire Department in Tryon, N.C., told local news media.

Chief Tennant said that Mr. McCormick had interviewed him just 10 minutes before the department got a call about the accident.

"We had talked a little about how he wanted us to stay safe and we wanted him to stay safe," Chief Tennant said of Mr. McCormick.

Subtropical Storm Alberto — the first named storm of the season — made landfall on Florida's Panhandle on Monday evening, and what the National Weather Service called "broad circulation" around the storm was bringing heavy rain to some parts of the Carolinas on Monday.

[Up to a foot of rain was possible in places as Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall]

Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina issued a statement late Monday warning of heavy rains, flooding and the potential for landslides, and urging residents to take the storm seriously. Rain that fell during the past week had wet the ground and created the potential flooding and landslides, the governor's office said, and in recent hours and days, officials in Polk County had suggested that some residents voluntarily evacuate the area, noting that the downpour could make the ground and roads potentially unstable.

"Two journalists working to keep the public informed about this storm have tragically lost their lives, and we mourn with their families, friends and colleagues," Governor Cooper said.

Steve Abbott, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said a portion of the highway had at one point been temporarily closed to clear out mud and other damage from flooding, but it had been reopened about a week ago.

"It's a main highway for that area so it's important to keep it open," Mr. Abbott said, adding that officials had "no concerns" about the road.

State transportation officials said they now expect the part of Highway 176 where the accident occurred to remain closed until at least Tuesday afternoon. The North Carolina Highway Patrol was investigating the deadly accident, officials said.

There is a longstanding tradition of television crews standing in the middle of dangerous storms, in part to exhibit their unflinching desire to be on the scene for a significant event. But the news value of dangerous stand-ups — in which a correspondent is seen in the field talking to the camera — is increasingly being questioned, and came under extra scrutiny last year when videos of reporters being lashed by hurricane-strength winds were shared widely on social media.

Chief Tennant, though, called Monday's episode a "freak of nature" occurrence.

"It's one of those things that you know it's going to happen, or you can predict that it may happen," he said. "You don't know when."

Both men were in their 30s, the station said.

Mr. McCormick joined WYFF News 4 in April 2007 as a reporter in the Spartanburg, S.C., newsroom before becoming an anchor in 2014, the station said. His station biography said he had come from one of WYFF News 4's sister stations in Arkansas, where he had won awards for his investigative reports on identity theft.

Mr. Smeltzer was the photographer in the Spartanburg bureau, and WYFF News 4 said he joined the station in February. He had filmed news in the region for more than a decade.

"All of us at WYFF News 4 are grieving," an article on the station's website said. "We are a family and we thank you, our extended family, for your comfort as we mourn and as we seek to comfort the families of Mike and Aaron."