Flood threat from Florence remains in Carolinas; storm moves north

Flood threat from Florence remains in Carolinas; storm moves north
Posted at 7:57 AM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 04:01:37-04

(RNN) - Now a post-tropical cyclone, Florence has left the Carolinas, but the danger from the storm’s heavy rain and high winds has not ended, with further flooding expected in the region

The effects of Florence’s rage are still being felt across North and South Carolina.

Rivers in North Carolina, including the Northeast Cape Fear River, Trent River and Little River, reached record flood levels, and dams and levees in the state are under severe strain, according to the WeatherChannel.

In South Carolina, many rivers, including some that have already reached flood levels such as the Waccamaw River, are expected to reach or exceed flood levels in coming days.

With that increased flooding, the death count, which officials say stands at 32, is expected to rise.

The 120,000 Wilmington, NC residents are still mostly cut off from the rest of the state by floodwaters. However, one road was briefly opened to let supply trucks into the city, according to the Associated Press.

Officials plan to hand out supplies to the stranded residents beginning Tuesday morning.

Crews have conducted about 700 rescues in the city and surrounding New Hanover County, and more than 60 percent of homes and businesses are without power, the AP reported.

Emergency crews made at least 1,000 swift-water rescues in the state by Monday.

Meanwhile, more than 485,000 customers in North Carolina and more than 16,000 in South Carolina don’t have electricity, according to CNN.

As the storm moved northeast into Virginia Monday, more than 10,000 households were left without power, WWBT reported. Remember, these are households - not total people. Many households have multiple people.

Tornadoes spawned during storm conditions in Virginia, causing the death of one man after the warehouse where he worked collapsed.

The death is the first reported from the storm not in North or South Carolina, where 31 people have died – 25 from North Carolina and six from South Carolina.

The body of a 1-year-old was found Monday morning in Union County, NC. On Sunday, floodwaters swept the car he was carrying off the road, and the baby out of his mother’s arms, WBTV reported.

Two children – one 3 months old in Dallas, NC, and the other 8 months old in Wilmington – were killed when trees fell on their respective homes. The 8-month-old’s mother was also killed.

Flooding has caused several other deaths, including that of a man who drowned attempting to cross a road in Marlboro County, SC, on Monday.

A man in Lexington County, SC, was killed when he lost control of his pickup truck and hit a tree Sunday morning and another man died when a pickup flipped into a drainage ditch in Georgetown County, NC.

Three more people died in Duplin County, NC, Saturday afternoon due to flash flooding, WECT reported.

Another man in Kershaw County, SC, died when his pickup truck went off the road and struck an overpass support beam, according to WIS.

Two 78-year-old men were killed in Lenoir County, NC. One was electrocuted while outside in the rain, and the other is believed to have been blown down while going outside to check on his dogs, CNN reported.

A 61-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man died in Horry County, SC, Friday night after using a generator inside their home, according to WMBF.

A woman died in Hampstead, NC, after suffering a medical emergency, WECT reported.

Almost 20,000 military personnel and federal workers have been deployed to help in Florence’s aftermath, President Donald Trump said.

The president issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina, the White House said Saturday. It will make federal money available to people in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender.

More than 15,000 people were at shelters Monday morning, according to CNN.

Officials are warning drivers not to travel in or through the state. Sections of I-95 and I-40 are flooded, and anyone traveling south from Virginia is encouraged to bypass the state entirely, instead going west to Tennessee.

Price-gouging has been an issue, with more than 500 reports so far, according to CNN. The state’s attorney general, Josh Stein, said the reports related primarily to price hikes of essentials like water and gas, as well as price hikes for hotel rooms being sought by evacuees.

People who see price-gouging are advised to contact the state attorney general’s office.

Ten people in Wilmington have been charged with looting during Florence, according to WECT. Four of those defendants were involved in a Saturday incident at a Family Dollar store.

The amount of rainfall seen during Florence in the Carolinas is one of the most significant amounts on record, according to the National Weather Service. Preliminary reports indicate it will break the North Carolina state rainfall record for a tropical cyclone.

More than 30 inches were reported in Elizabethtown, NC, Swansboro, NC, and Gurganus, NC.

The flooding of coal ash dumps and hog farms in North Carolina has raised concerns about pollution, according to the AP.

A nuclear power plant south of Wilmington declared a state of emergency as floodwaters cut it off from personnel. It was under the lowest level of nuclear emergency, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told The News & Observer newspaper of Raleigh.

The remnants of Florence are moving into southern New England, leaving Maryland, northern Virginia and southern New York under flash flood watches, according to NWS. These states are expected to receive up to six inches of rain.

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