Florence Flooding In The Carolinas: 'The Worst Is Yet To Come'

People wait for the Piggly Wiggly grocery store to open after Hurricane Florence hit Richlands N.C.,Sunday Sept. 16 2018.					Tom Copeland  AP

Hurricane Florence has come and gone through North and SC, but its heavy rains and storm surge have caused significant flooding in cities and towns across the region.

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.

Victor Merlos was overjoyed to find a store open for business in Wilmington since he had about 20 relatives staying at his apartment, which still had power.

Florence is now a what forecasters call a post-tropical cyclone, with top sustained winds of 35 kilometers per hour (22 mph).

The coastal city of Wilmington was largely cut off due to flood waters from the Cape Fear River, with one single road available for emergency workers and those bringing food and water. "The threat of flooded roads keeps spreading", he said. "Anyone trying to get in here - don't try". A short distance away an overturned trailer could be seen. "Highway Patrol won't let you".

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.

Wilmington was also the site of the first deaths of the hurricane.

Pavements have been destroyed by uprooted trees, homes have been badly flooded and families have been warned it could potentially be weeks before all their homes have electricity again.

2018 is already the wettest year in the city's 140 years of record-keeping, even with 3½ months left.

More than 760,000 customers in North Carolina were without power and 21,000 people were being housed in 157 shelters across the state, AFP reported.

Hurricane Florence continues to rip through the Carolinas in the U.S. today, wreaking destruction and causing widespread flooding and infrastructural damage. "Still expecting record or near-record flooding across a large part of North Carolina in the days to come". Most of the traffic lights and homes in the city are dark Monday as waters reach risky levels. Residents worked to secure the area, filling the gap with sandbags.

"Please don't get complacent", Lazarus said.

Still, major parts of Lumberton are flooded. Parts of I-95 were also closed in SC, along with a number of highways in the eastern portion of the state.

The South Carolina resort town was relatively unscathed by the winds and 15.41 inches of rain from Florence.

"River flooding is dynamic and it's happening all over our state", Cooper said.

"We've been going so hard and fast we don't have a number yet", he said. "It's really going to take a while for the floodwaters to recede so that we can get in and conduct our damage assessment".

Bethune said Sunday that the rivers were expected to crest in two days, with significant flooding. If the river gets higher than 26 feet, "all bets are off", city public works deputy director Corey Walters said.

"Thank you", a frazzled, shirtless Willie Schubert mouthed to members of a Coast Guard helicopter crew who plucked him and his dog Lucky from atop a house encircled by water in Pollocksville.

Brad Zerivitz shot a drone video of downtown Fayetteville for the American Red Cross that illustrates the extent of the flooding.

City Manager Mark Stephens said the city had suffered one of the most devastating storms in its 308 year history.

In Goldsboro, rain fell and the Neuse River was swelling above its banks. "Up to 15 inches additional rain will exacerbate ongoing flooding". They are usually bolted to the ground, but the statues' thick pedestals were uprooted and washed away, the city said.

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