Florence: Death toll as high as 44 as flooding danger lingers

By Sommer Brokaw

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The death toll from Florence has risen as high as 44 people as challenges in the storm's aftermath continue.

Forty-four people have died as a result of the storm since the hurricane made landfall last week in Wrightsville Beach, N.C, as a Category 1 hurricane. In the days since, rain has inundated the Carolinas, leaving flooding dangers in its wake, CNN reported.


That is an increase over the previous death toll of 37 across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

A National Weather Service summary five days after the storm hit showed over 20 inches of total rainfall in some areas of North and South Carolina and around 10 inches in some areas of Virginia.

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Though the rain has subsided, some rivers have continued to rise. North Carolina is coping with more expected flooding and roads that are washed out.

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

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


Environmental concerns have also spread as the Lake Sutton dam owned by Duke Energy breached Friday, allowing coal ash to seep into the nearby Cape Fear River.

In South Carolina, officials in Conway said flood waters won't reach their highest levels until next week.

"We are hearing that the water may not crest until Tuesday or Wednesday. It won't reach the highest model until next week," city spokesperson Taylor Newell said.

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On Friday, South Carolina's Waccamaw River set a record high and will keep rising into the next week, posing a new threat to people, neighborhoods and buildings.

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