44 dead as Florence-weary Carolinas face more flooding and rising rivers

After an agonizing week of ravaging floods, rising rivers, power outages and dozens of deaths, the Florence-...

Posted: Sep 23, 2018 12:48 PM
Updated: Sep 23, 2018 12:48 PM

After an agonizing week of ravaging floods, rising rivers, power outages and dozens of deaths, the Florence-weary Carolinas are facing the possibility of more flooding over the weekend.

At least 44 people have died since the hurricane slammed the coast last week. While the rain has subsided, some rivers are still rising, and North and South Carolina officials warn the flooding danger is far from over.

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"The Cape Fear River will crest again this weekend, along with the Lumber River," the North Carolina Department of Transportation tweeted Friday, adding that the Neuse will rise Monday.

"Additionally, new areas are flooding with little warning. Due to this, travel isn't recommended south of US 64," it said.

While some roads are not flooded, they may have damage and hazardous debris that makes it dangerous to drive or walk on them, state officials said.

In South Carolina, emergency officials issued a stern warning on avoiding the roads: "I know we sound redundant, but it bears repeating: Turn around, don't drown!" the state's emergency management department tweeted.

A week after Hurricane Florence made landfall, the trillions of gallons of water it dumped over the Carolinas are slowly moving toward the sea, leaving a path of destruction. Residential streets have turned into rivers, and freeways have morphed into waterways.

Carolina rivers are still swelling

In North Carolina, flooded rivers have left thousands of evacuees living in shelters and hundreds of roads underwater.

The water has receded in some places, but as it moves downstream, officials say, thousands of people could be in danger through next week.

A number of South Carolina rivers -- the Waccamaw, Lynches, Little Pee Dee and Big Pee Dee -- are forecast to crest east of Interstate 95 this weekend and early next week, the state's Emergency Management Division said Friday.

Floodwaters on the Waccamaw River hit nearly 20 feet Saturday and are likely to reach 22 feet by Tuesday morning. In Conway, South Carolina, residents have reported damage to homes that had never previously flooded, authorities said.

Residents were warned that the area where the Big Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee rivers merge could reach flood levels even greater than those seen during Hurricane Matthew.

State resources and personnel have shifted to the Pee Dee region, Gov. Henry McMaster said.

In all, 23 of 46 counties in South Carolina could potentially be impacted by flooding, authorities have said.

Residents in those areas are still recovering from catastrophic floods in 2015, as well as from widespread damage from Matthew in 2016

Environmental hazards threaten

Officials are also worried about contamination and environmental hazards, including the potential effects of coal ash, an industrial waste created by coal-burning power plants that can carry health risks.

Flooding from the Cape Fear River caused breaches in a dam at a cooling lake at Duke Energy's LV Sutton Plant in Wilmington, North Carolina, prompting the company to shut down the natural gas plant Friday, Duke Energy said in a statement.

"Water is now exiting the cooling lake through breaches -- one large and several smaller -- on the southern end of the impoundment," the statement said.

It noted there are two coal ash basins on the site but said there was "no visible ash in the cooling lake." A landfill containing disposed ash from the site has not been affected by the cooling lake, it said.

The LV Sutton coal power plant was retired in 2013, and today it operates as a natural gas plant, an earlier statement from Duke Energy explained.

Mental health patients drown

Of the 44 deaths blamed on Florence, 32 have been in North Carolina, nine in South Carolina and three in Virginia, officials said.

Those killed include two mental health patients in South Carolina's Horry County. The women, Windy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43, drowned Tuesday in a prison transport van after sheriff's deputies couldn't open its doors, authorities said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36096

Reported Deaths: 2231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10095598
Lake3833203
Allen175371
Cass15927
Elkhart149528
St. Joseph133736
Hendricks119276
Hamilton118394
Johnson1121112
Madison59961
Porter55830
Clark53041
Bartholomew52739
LaPorte44624
Howard44036
Tippecanoe4294
Jackson3992
Shelby39722
Delaware38940
Hancock35127
Boone32435
Floyd32340
Vanderburgh2892
Morgan28426
Noble26821
Montgomery24818
Clinton2461
White2389
Decatur23131
Grant22523
Dubois2093
Harrison19522
Henry18412
Kosciusko1792
Vigo1788
Marshall1782
Greene17225
Dearborn17022
Monroe17012
Lawrence16724
Warrick16729
Miami1441
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
Scott1263
Franklin1168
LaGrange1162
Ripley1086
Daviess9916
Carroll943
Steuben882
Wayne866
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper731
Jay540
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Washington501
Fulton501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb441
Starke393
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Owen341
Wells340
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams211
Gibson192
Parke180
Posey160
Martin130
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0179

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37282

Reported Deaths: 2340
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6216293
Cuyahoga4732259
Hamilton2767167
Marion268631
Lucas2313263
Pickaway209638
Summit1505181
Mahoning1466191
Butler94832
Columbiana89152
Stark782101
Lorain72260
Montgomery72016
Trumbull59451
Belmont44715
Warren39821
Medina37625
Tuscarawas3674
Miami36630
Delaware35514
Ashtabula34738
Portage33357
Lake32012
Fairfield3148
Clark3137
Wood30449
Geauga30034
Wayne29351
Licking26710
Mercer2238
Allen21933
Clermont2185
Richland2164
Darke18923
Erie18516
Madison1637
Washington11819
Crawford1184
Morrow1081
Greene1055
Ottawa10417
Putnam9514
Sandusky8512
Monroe8015
Auglaize773
Ross732
Hardin710
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Huron611
Williams561
Union551
Muskingum541
Holmes543
Hancock531
Wyandot482
Shelby463
Fulton450
Coshocton450
Clinton451
Logan430
Fayette410
Preble391
Guernsey382
Defiance342
Carroll343
Lawrence311
Brown301
Champaign281
Seneca262
Highland261
Knox251
Vinton212
Ashland210
Perry191
Athens181
Henry170
Scioto170
Jackson140
Paulding140
Adams111
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
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Decatur
Scattered Clouds
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