CBS/AP September 16, 2018, 1:25 PM
Florence fast facts:
- At least 15 people have died in storm-related incidents, including a man and a woman in Horry County who died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- About 740,000 homes and businesses are still without power in North and South Carolina.
- Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression overnight, with sustained winds of 35 mph.
- Swansboro, North Carolina, has received more than 30 inches of rain; several other have received more than 20 inches.
- Florence is causing flash flooding and major river flooding over a “significant portion” of North and South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said.
- A couple of tornadoes are still possible through Sunday in North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina, the hurricane center said.
North Carolina city cut off by floodwaters
Wilmington, North Carolina, has been completely cut off by floodwaters and officials are asking for additional help from state law enforcement and the National Guard. Woody White is chairman of the board of commissioners of New Hanover County.
White said at a news conference Sunday that additional rainfall Saturday night made roads into the city impassable.
Officials are planning for food and water to be flown to the county, he said, although new distribution centers will have to be found because of all the rain in the northern part of the county.
Earlier Sunday, officials from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority had said they were almost out of fuel for the water plant and might have to shut down. The utility later issued a release saying it had found additional fuel.
White said officials have asked Gov. Roy Cooper for additional aid.
Officials order evacuations in Hope Hills
The mayor of a Fayetteville, North Carolina, suburb says about 100 people in her community have been urged to evacuate to higher ground over flooding concerns. Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said Sunday morning that the warning went out to neighborhoods around Hope Mills Lake because the water there is expected to rise significantly.
She said fire and police officials were going door to door in the affected neighborhoods Sunday morning to make sure people are aware.
Warner said a complete dam failure is not expected. So far, she says the lake hasn’t overflowed its banks.
90 rescued from waters in North Carolina county
About 90 people have been rescued from high waters due to flooding, Columbus County Manager Mike Stephens said Sunday.
Stephens said rivers and streams have been rising due to large amounts of rain from Florence and power is out in a large swath of the county. Stephens says the county’s secondary roads are “almost impassable” and water is covering part of one main highway, U.S. 74.
Stephens said some of the people were rescued from vehicles that ran into deep water. There have been no reports of injuries or fatalities in Columbus County from the storm, he said.
Regulators monitoring hog, poultry farms
North Carolina state regulators and environmental groups are monitoring the threat from hog and poultry farms in low-lying, flood-prone areas. These industrial-scale farms typically feature vast pits of animal feces and urine that can pose a significant pollution threat if they are breached or inundated by floodwaters.
In past hurricanes, flooding at dozens of farms also left hundreds of thousands of dead hogs, chickens and other decomposing livestock bobbing in the floodwaters.