Florence has been downgraded to a tropical depression but Carolina residents are not out of the clear
The next stage of the disaster comes with widespread river flooding
Death toll from Florence has reached 14, including three who died in flash flooding on roadways
A couple in South Carolina died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a generator inside their home
Storm surges, flash floods and winds scattered destruction widely and crews are working to rescue residents
Rivers are swelling toward record levels and thousands have been ordered to evacuate
FEMA Director Brock Long said: ‘We’ll get through this. It’ll be ugly but we’ll get through it’
16 September 2018
As the death toll from Florence rises to at least 14 and hundreds of people are being pulled from flooded homes, North Carolina is bracing for what could be the next stage of a still-unfolding disaster: catastrophic, widespread river flooding.
After blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph winds, Florence virtually parked itself much of the weekend atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore. Officials have now downgraded the storm to a tropical depression.
Storm surges, flash floods and winds scattered destruction widely throughout the east coast and the Marines, the Coast Guard, civilian crews and volunteers are using helicopters, boats and heavy-duty vehicles throughout the weekend to conduct rescues.
The death toll from the hurricane-turned-tropical depression climbed to 14 on Saturday night, with 10 dead in North Carolina and three dead in South Carolina, according to officials and media reports.
Among the dead are a couple in South Carolina who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a generator inside their home during the storm.
The North Carolina fatalities also include three who died ‘due to flash flooding and swift water on roadways,’ the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said 63-year-old Mark Carter King and 61-year-old Debra Collins Rion were killed by breathing in carbon monoxide.
Their bodies were found in a Loris home Saturday afternoon, but they likely died the day before as the heavy rains and winds from former hurricane-turned-Tropical Depression Florence were moving onshore.
FEMA Director Brock Long said: ‘We’ll get through this. It’ll be ugly but we’ll get through it.’
Florence weakened into to tropical depression Sunday morning but flash flooding and major river flooding are expected to continue over significant portions of the Carolinas.
Rivers are swelling toward record levels, forecasters now warn, and thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate for fear that the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.
Stream gauges across the region showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to crest Sunday and Monday at or near record levels: The Little River, the Cape Fear, the Lumber, the Neuse, the Waccamaw and the Pee Dee were all projected to burst their banks, possibly flooding nearby communities.
Authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of up to 7,500 people living within a mile of a stretch of the Cape Fear River and the Little River, about 100 miles from the North Carolina coast. The evacuation zone included part of the city of Fayetteville, population 200,000.