South Carolina communities race to beat dangerous flooding

Unofficial rain totals show Florence dropped 8.04 trillion gallons across NC

Unofficial rain totals show Florence dropped 8.04 trillion gallons across NC

That Hurricane Florence broke rainfall records for tropical storms in both North and SC shouldn't be surprising, as global climate change has increased extreme precipitation in all areas of the continental United States. Parts of the main north-south route on the East coast, Interstate 95, and the main road to Wilmington, Interstate 40, remain flooded and will likely be closed at least until almost the end of September, North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said.

Cooper warned residents that the rain may have subsided, but the flooding danger is far from over.

Secretary of Transportation Jim Trogdon said Thursday that an initial $14 million in highway fix funding has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the local administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said his agency has approved more than $5 million in initial direct disaster aid to individuals.

"They didn't clean the ditches", she said.

In South Carolina, emergency officials issued a stern warning on avoiding the roads: "I know we sound redundant, but it bears repeating: Turn around, don't drown!" the state's emergency management department tweeted.

Florence is blamed for at least 42 deaths in the Carolinas and Virginia, including that of an 81-year-old whose body was found in a submerged pickup truck in SC. The flooding also caused rivers to overflow, fields to fill with water, and millions of farm animals to drown.

In Wilmington, things kept creeping back closer to normal in the state's largest coastal city.

In Bladen County, North Carolina, around 100 people and 33 animals were rescued "in a unsafe operation in the middle of the night" after a dam burst, Governor Roy Cooper said in a twitter post on Friday. The National Weather Service said the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday.

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Cooper's sentiments were echoed by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who said Friday: "Although the winds are gone and the rain is not falling, the water is still there and the worst is still to come".

Authorities have said 23 out of the 46 counties in SC could potentially be impacted by flooding.

"The damage to our state is devastating and is still occurring as we speak", said the governor.

Coal ash can contaminate water and harm fish and wildlife.

More than 5 million gallons (18 million liters) of partially treated sewage spilled into the Cape Fear River after power went out at a treatment plant, officials said, and the earthen dam of a pond holding hog waste was breached, spilling its contents. County spokeswoman Elizabeth Stalls says there have been at least 150 rescues, but there have been many more "to the point where we've lost count".

It noted there are two coal ash basins on the site, but said there was "no visible ash in the cooling lake".

One major concern is the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville, which has quadrupled in depth, and it's only going to get worse. At least one of those deaths was in Lenoir County, and a mother and infant were killed in the Wilmington area. The women, Windy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43, drowned Tuesday in a prison transport van when sheriff's deputies couldn't open the doors of the vehicle, authorities said.

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