Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Hurricane Florence’s death toll rises as floodwaters overwhelm region

Hurricane Florence’s death toll rises as floodwaters overwhelm region

With Wilmington still mostly an island surrounded by Hurricane Florence's floodwaters and residents waiting in hours-long lines for supplies, North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

Kenny Babb retrieves a paddle that floated away on his flooded property as the Little River continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Linden, N.C.

On Monday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned that "for many parts of North Carolina, the danger is still imminent".

State officials in North Carolina now say 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs have been killed in flooding from Florence.

And the effects from the slow-moving storm were still being felt Tuesday as record inland river flooding was impacting areas such as Pollocksville in Jones County, where USA 17 was impassable.

Four days after Florence blew ashore and began unloading more than 60cm of rain that paralysed much of North Carolina, Wilmington was still virtually cut off from the rest of the state, with just one road tentatively open as a supply route.

"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to", Cooper said.

Crews have conducted about 700 rescues in New Hanover County, where Wilmington is located. Downed trees and power lines still blocked many roads into the city.

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Mayor Bill Saffo said he was working with the governor's office to get more fuel into Wilmington.

The North Carolina Pork Council said one hog lagoon - which houses waste from the animals - breached in Duplin County.

"At this time, things are moving as well as can be in the city, " he said.

"We will do whatever it takes to keep the American people safe, " Trump said.

Florence dumped more than 8 trillion gallons (30 trillion liters) of rain on North Carolina, the weather service said.

Preliminary statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed Florence had the fourth-highest rainfall total of any hurricane to hit the USA mainland since 1950, with 35.94 inches (91.2 centimeters) at Elizabethtown, North Carolina.

After submerging North Carolina with almost 3 feet (1 meter) of rain, the storm dumped more than 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) of rain in the Northeast, where it caused flash flooding, wind damage and prompted at least one tornado warning, the weather service said. Forecasters said it was expected to continue toward the Northeast, which is in for as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain, before the system moves offshore again.

Rivers and waterways, swollen after Florence's historic deluge, rose dangerously across the Carolinas on Tuesday, closing roads, inundating communities, hindering rescue and fix efforts and preventing evacuees from returning home.

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