Hurricane Florence death toll climbs as flooding spreads

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 18, 2018

Local artist Kevin Bryant praised the effort, saying "it's good to get some support".

Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jeff Caldwell said his agency considers the storms part of the remnants of Hurricane Florence, which left flooding rains across much of North Carolina over the weekend. Both states also are at a risk of risky flash floods and river flooding.

The state's governor, Roy Cooper, said on Monday that the "epic storm" was still an immediate danger as rivers reach major flood levels.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression around 5 a.m. ET as it trudged inland, knocking out power and causing at least eight deaths as floodwaters kept rising. "I think it tells us these aren't really 500-year floods and are an occurrence that is going to happen to us more and more", he noted.

About 488,551 customers in North Carolina and 16,385 in SC don't have electricity.

Of particular concern were the risks to dams, already stressed by heavy rainfall from a tropical storm earlier in the month, he said, urging citizens to heed official warnings about what was now a "flood event".

The risky tropical storm made landfall in North Carolina on September 14th and then pushed through the Southeast.

The dead included a one-year-old boy who was swept away after his mother drove into floodwaters and lost grip on him as they tried to escape their vehicle. "So we are trying to get it dried out, so we can... get open and get everything squared away", said restaurant owner Raymond Karem.

Military officials said the USNS Comfort hospital ship has not been deployed because communities surrounding the disaster area are able to provide adequate medical services.

The Lumber River cuts through the city of Lumberton in North Carolina, which has received 22.76 inches of rain since Thursday.

Cooper said his office would be working closely with FEMA and state legislators to help rebuild areas of the state damaged by Hurricane Florence.

"We do not want evacuees to go back". "Last time we had sun was on Wednesday".

Among the other fatalities were two men in their 70s who died in Lenoir County - one had been connecting extension cords and another was blown by high winds when checking on his dogs.

"The worst is yet to come", he added. "It's a notice to people that roads are flooded", he said.

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.

"I'm insane. I made a bad decision", he said. Southbound I-95 lanes also were closed between Exits 81 and 65 in North Carolina.

By Tuesday, Guy said, "the remnants of Florence will be pushed towards the Northeast, where areas from northern Pennsylvania through central NY towards Boston could pick up some heavy rain".

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