Hundreds stranded after Hurricane Florence, worse is yet to come, say officials

Erika Holt
September 19, 2018

A man wades through rising flood waters on the Cape Fear River during Hurricane Florence in Wilmington, North Carolina on 14 September 2018.

Authorities say the number of deaths tied to Florence has risen to at least 31, the bulk of them in North Carolina.

Catastrophic floods raised the threat of dam breaks and landslides across the southeastern United States on Sunday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and billions of dollars in damage.

Throwing a lifeline to a city surrounded by floodwaters, emergency crews delivered food and water to Wilmington on Monday as rescuers picked up more people stranded by Hurricane Florence and the storm's remnants took aim at the densely populated Northeast.

"BREAKING. We've observed a one-minute period of sunshine at the NWS Raleigh office", the NWS said on Twitter.

Florence, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression from a hurricane, was headed through Virginia toward New England.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said: "All roads in the state right now are at risk of floods".

Even as some residents began returning to their homes, officials warned of a long road to recovery ahead. SC also set a record for most rain in a single tropical weather system, previously set by Tropical Storm Jerry in 1995.

The flooding is so bad in North Carolina that the state's transportation department warned people not to travel in or through the state. "I know the kind of people who live here and I know North Carolinians want to help", he said.

As all of the rain in the area entered the river system, the Lumber River reached a startling high of 25 feet on Sunday - about 12 feet about flood stage.

Florence death toll rises to 25 as flooding continues
Hundreds stranded after Hurricane Florence, worse is yet to come, say officials

"Three days of relentless rain from #Florence has resulted in significant flooding in #NC #SC", said Duke Energy, a major power supplier.

Others killed included three who perished "due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways", according to the Duplin County Sheriff's Office, and a 61-year-old woman who died when her auto hit a downed tree.

"North Carolinians are resilient and we will come back from this".

Rescue teams are out in force, pulling about a thousand people from their flooded homes, and shelters are overflowing with evacuees.

Three television stations in a hurricane-ravaged North Carolina city are about to go dark because there's no gas to keep their generators running.

A nuclear power plant south of Wilmington has also declared a state of emergency as floodwaters have cut it off from personnel.

They can wear scuba dry suits if they have to venture into water, Overton said.

An 88-year-old man was also found dead in Union County on Monday, next to a vehicle that had been submerged in the floods.

The state board said it's already sending out state ballots for several counties that can't do so because of flooding, power and internet outages or because their offices are inaccessible. "As the water recedes things will get better".

About 60 children in state custody along the coast of North Carolina have been evacuated to a YMCA conference center in the western mountains.

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