Florence's deluge raises death toll to 32

Florence's deluge raises death toll to 32

Members of the North Carolina Task Force urban search and rescue team wade through a flooded neighborhood looking for residents who stayed behind as Florence continues to dump rain in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Members of the North Carolina Task Force urban search and rescue team wade through a flooded neighborhood looking for residents who stayed behind as Florence continues to dump rain in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(RNN) - Tropical Depression Florence continues to drown the Carolinas as it moves inland through Virginia. Officials are eyeing river levels after the deluge of rain that measures in feet, not inches. Levees are straining against the sheer amount of water.

The 120,000 Wilmington, NC residents are cut off by floodwaters from the rest of the state. Officials plan to airlift food and water to the coastal city but are eyeing inland flooding. And with that increased flooding - many rivers are not expected to crest until Monday or later - the death count will rise.

Officials are monitoring the levee in Lumberton, NC, which had a breach over the weekend. Water seeped into neighborhoods, but it gave people enough time to evacuate. If the levee fails, it will flood the town, which was flooded by Hurricane Matthew two years ago.

“Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina ... but we’re also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to Ohio as the system exits out,” Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday on Fox News.

Continued historic, and likely catastrophic, flooding is expected. More than 900 people in North Carolina were rescued from swift waters by Sunday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference. Further rescues are ongoing.

Price-gouging has been an issue, with more than 500 reports so far in North Carolina, according to CNN. The state’s attorney general, Josh Stein, said the reports related primarily to price hikes of essentials like water and gas, as well as price hikes for hotel rooms being sought by evacuees.

People who see price-gouging are advised to contact the state attorney general’s office.

As it moves north, Florence continues to dump rain on North and South Carolina in already-flooded areas.

Officials said Monday evening that 32 deaths have resulted from Florence. Twenty-five of those deaths were in North Carolina, the Associated Press reported.

The body of a 1-year-old was found Monday morning. On Sunday, floodwaters swept the car he was carrying off the road, and the baby out of his mother’s arms, WBTV reports.

Two children – one 3 months old in Dallas, NC, and the other 8 months old in Wilmington, NC – were killed when trees fell on their respective homes. The 8-month-old’s mother was also killed.

Flooding has caused several other deaths, including that of a man who drowned attempting to cross a road in Marlboro County, SC, on Monday.

A man in Lexington County, SC, was killed when he lost control of his pickup truck and hit a tree Sunday morning and another man died when a pickup flipped into a drainage ditch in Georgetown County, NC.

Three more people died in Duplin County, NC, Saturday afternoon due to flash flooding, WECT reported.

Another man in Kershaw County, SC, died when his pickup truck went off the road and struck an overpass support beam, according to WIS.

Two 78-year-old men were killed in Lenoir County, NC. One was electrocuted while outside in the rain, and the other is believed to have been blown down while going outside to check on his dogs, CNN reported.

A 61-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man died in Horry County, SC, Friday night after using a generator inside their home, according to WMBF.

A woman died in Hampstead, NC, after suffering a medical emergency, WECT reported.

North Carolina issued warnings to drivers traveling down I-95 from Virginia to bypass the state, instead going west to Tennessee, CNN reported.

Dams and levees throughout North Carolina are in danger of failing.

Flash flood warnings are in effect across a large portion of southern and western North Carolina and parts of northeast South Carolina and southwest Virginia, according to the NWS.

More than 25 inches of rain has already fallen in parts of North Carolina, and more than 15 inches of rain has fallen in parts of South Carolina. The mid-Atlantic states and southern New England are expected to receive more than 6 inches of rain, according to the NWS.

Florence was causing severe weather over Virginia as it moved north, with WWBT reporting a tornado outbreak that included at least one touchdown.

President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration for North Carolina, the White House said Saturday. It will make federal money available to people in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender.

More than 488,000 households in North Carolina and 20,000 in South Carolina are without power, according to state officials. Remember, these are households - not total people. Many households have multiple people.

A nuclear power plant south of Wilmington has also declared a state of emergency as floodwaters have cut it off from personnel. It is, however, under the lowest level of nuclear emergency, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told The News & Observer newspaper of Raleigh.

More than 15,000 people are at shelters in North Carolina, according to CNN.

Five people were arrested Saturday in Wilmington, NC, after a looting incident at a Family Dollar store, WECT reported.

The flooding of coal ash dumps and hog farms in North Carolina has raised concerns about pollution, according to the Associated Press.

Forecasters with the NWS expect Florence to move northeastward Monday and east across the southern part of New England on Tuesday.

The storm made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, NC, around 7:40 a.m. ET Friday as a Category 1 hurricane. It was downgraded to a tropical storm later Friday then to a tropical depression early Sunday.

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