Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Science | By

Carolinas brace for days of floods after Florence's deluge

Carolinas brace for days of floods after Florence's deluge

The weakening Florence dumped more than a foot of rain on parts of North Carolina and SC after coming ashore as a Category 1 hurricane early Friday driving major rivers there to record levels.

As rivers swelled, state regulators and environmental groups monitored the threat from huge hog and poultry farms in low-lying, flood-prone areas.

A street in Lumberton, North Carolina, is shown before the hurricane and on Sunday September 16 as residents were rescued from the rising flood water.

"The storm has never been more unsafe than it is right now", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said at a news conference yesterday.

The city of Wilmington, North Carolina has been completely cut off from the rest of the state by flooding. Officials were discouraging people from returning, however. The Cape Fear river is not predicted to crest until Tuesday or Wednesday, so there's no immediate hope on hand for residents.

Until then, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is heading to the region Monday. President Donald Trump also plans to visit the state this week.

New Bern, North Carolina, a town of 30,000 located at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers, was one of the hardest-hit spots when Florence first came ashore and city manager Mark Stephens said it was one of the worst storms in its 308-year history.

Rescue teams searched overnight for a 1-year-old boy swept away outside Charlotte, North Carolina, after rushing water pushed his mother's vehicle off the road, the Union County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.

Nearly 500,000 people began the day without power in North Carolina. "Pay attention to the weather warnings and be ready to head for safer ground if you're asked to evacuate", Cooper warned residents during Sunday news conference.

Speaking with members of the press outside of the Craven County Courthouse, Cooper said state and local governments have to figure out how to rebuild their communities after the destruction of Hurricane Florence.

The US's highest emergency official said other states were in the path of Florence.

The death toll from Hurricane Florence has risen to at least 31, with 24 deaths confirmed in North Carolina.

About 509,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in North and SC and surrounding states.

Rex Gehring, 62, was unsure what he would do with the house he bought outside Fayetteville after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 forced its previous owner into foreclosure. Troopers say the truck struck an overpass support beam, and the driver died at the scene.

There are now 2,000 federal workers working on storm response, supporting state efforts, said Tom Fargione, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer.

"Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina ... but we're also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to OH as the system exits out", Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday on Fox News. About 14,000 people are in shelters, officials said.

A house is seen flooded by rain after Hurricane Florence swept through the town of Wallace, North Carolina, U.S., September 15, 2018.

The governor said that 23 truckloads of supplies were able to make it into Wilmington this morning, though officials are uncertain whether the single road into the city will remain functional as rivers continue to flood.

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