More than twelve rivers in North and South Carolina have overflowed their banks and the water – particularly the Waccamaw River, which spans both states – is expected to overflow, putting additional residents in danger. Officers have been going door-to-door along the river in Brunswick County, North Carolina encouraging residents to evacuate.
Summary and outlook
• Flooding expected to worsen in next few days.
• At least 36 killed so far.
• More than 115,000 still without power.
Florence dropped more than 35 inches of rain in parts of North Carolina, and many areas remained cut off by floodwaters and inundated roads. The storm, which made landfall on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, has since been downgraded to a tropical depression and moved into the northeast.
The deaths of at least 36 people have been attributed to the storm, including 27 in North Carolina, eight in South Carolina, and one in Virginia. The latest victims were two women in South Carolina who drowned on Tuesday when a sheriff’s department van in which they were riding was swept away by flooding.
Some 2,600 people had been rescued by boat or helicopter in North Carolina alone since the storm hit land, according to the state Department of Public Safety. About 10,000 remained in shelters, the department said. More than 115,000 customers were without power across North Carolina, according to Poweroutage.us early on Thursday. As floodwaters continue to rise concerns are growing over the environmental and health dangers lurking in the water. The flooding has caused 21 hog “lagoons,” which store manure from pig farms, to overflow, creating a risk the standing water will be contaminated with bacteria like salmonella, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. North Carolina is one of the leading hog-producing States in the country.
Several sewer systems in the region have also released untreated or partly treated sewage and storm water into waterways over the last week, local media reported.
Commentary from political leaders
President Trump met with first responders in Conway, South Carolina on Wednesday and warned them of the danger of rising rivers.
“It’s going to get rough for South Carolina,” he told them. “You’re going to have a rebuilding process, and we are behind you from day one,” Trump said, calling this the “calm before the storm, because you’re going to have a lot of water.”
Conway’s city spokesman Taylor Newell said water could be “4 feet higher” there than when Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016.
In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents to “stay alert” as water rises.
“People in flood prone areas or near waterways need to remain alert as rivers crest and stay above their banks in coming days,” Cooper said.
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