Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Florence's floodwaters rising in the Carolinas

Boatswain's Mate Dimitri Georgoulopoulos looks out as members of a punt team with the Coast Guard perform searches through flood waters in the May Fair neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence How bad was Florence? New photo shows a boat motoring down a highway
| 22 September, 2018, 16:39

Highways continue to be closed as some rivers are still rising.

At least 43 people have died, included an elderly man whose body was found in a submerged pickup truck in SC, and hundreds were forced from their homes as rivers kept swelling higher.

Around the state since the storm hit last week, first responders have performed about 5,000 rescues so far, Gov. Roy Cooper said.

A sign commemorating the rebuilding of the town of Nichols, which was flooded two years earlier from Hurricane Matthew, stands in floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Nichols, S.C., Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

Chris Ross has been staying at a shelter since he fled his Fayetteville home about a week ago when the National Guard pulled people out of his neighborhood. Rivers at some sites are not forecast to crest for days, including near Conway, S.C.

Flooding across the Carolinas was expected to worsen over the next couple of days, forecasters said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster agrees. In a letter he said the flooding will be the worst disaster in the state's modern history.

The Horry County Sheriff's Department said in a statement that when the waters overtook the van, they rose too quickly for the pair to be saved.

Georgetown County Administrator Sel Hemingway warned the area may see a flood like it has never seen before. "Due to the fact that a lot of these rainfall levels were higher than historic levels, it made it harder to predict because you didn't have a benchmark to weigh that against".


The latest death toll because of the storm is reported to be 42. Parts of the main north-south route on the East coast, Interstate 95, and the main road to Wilmington, Interstate 40, remain flooded and will likely be closed at least until almost the end of September, North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said.

As floodwaters continue to rise, concerns are growing about the environmental and health dangers lurking in the water. Duke Energy issued a high-level emergency alert after floodwaters from the Cape Fear River overtopped an earthen dike and inundated a large lake at a closed power plant near Wilmington, North Carolina.

There are more than 3,300 lagoons in North Carolina, said Andy Curliss, chief executive for the NC Pork Council.

Fayetteville city manager Doug Hewett said he's concerned that with the rain gone, the residents may become complacent and try to get back home, which could be risky.

But even as some residents remain in the grip of an ongoing disaster, officials are eyeing the road to recovery.

High winds and flooding damaged two chicken farms that supply Tyson Foods Inc, the biggest USA meat processor, spokesman Worth Sparkman said.

The South Carolina governor estimated damage from the flood in his state at $1.2 billion. McMaster is asking for funding for half of the state's 46 counties.

Members of North Carolina's congressional delegation have said they expect a relief package to move through Congress next week, Moore and Berger said, they want to clear the red tape as soon as possible so federal money can be immediately directed to the appropriate state agencies. "The footprint of flooding from this storm covers much of the same area hit by flooding from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which only worsens the burden on these farmers".

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