Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Storm Florence's drenching rains kill 23 in the Carolinas

Storm Florence's drenching rains kill 23 in the Carolinas

When North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence, the state's price gouging law went into effect. "Please don't make yourself someone who needs to be rescued", he said even as rains stopped in several places after Florence moved on and the tired residents got a brief glimpse of sunshine on Monday.

South Front Street in New Bern, North Carolina is shown before Florence and after her.

Some Carolinians were relieved that the storm was pushing out, despite the continued threat of flooding from rivers. All that water is going to flow off the mountains into local rivers and we could see more scenes like the ones in Wilmington in the future.

Rescue teams are out in force, pulling about a thousand people from their flooded homes, and shelters are overflowing with evacuees.

North Carolina officials reported 1,200 road closures, including a stretch of Interstate 95, a major transportation artery running the length of the U.S. East Coast.

The storm has set rainfall records in several locations in North Carolina, including Swansboro, with a whopping 34 inches, Hoffman Forest with 29.48 inches and Sunny Point with 27.44 inches.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, one of the worst affected areas, abandoned cars were left to float in the rising waters on Saturday as residents fled and tried to ride out the worst of the hurricane.

"The neighbors told us our home was fine apart from a few branches down, so that's a relief at least", he added.

Two tornadoes were confirmed in central North Carolina in Wayne and Wilson counties Monday morning.

"We are closely monitoring hog lagoons, and we haven't had any reports of issues", Cooper said in a media briefing Sunday.

Power companies are working to restore power to the almost half a million homes and businesses in both states that are still without electricity. The woman had driven around barricades to get on a closed road, the sheriff's office in Union County, near North Carolina's border with SC, said on Facebook. As of Monday, it was up to 54 feet, and is expected to crest at 62 feet Tuesday.

What do we know of the victims?

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The dead included a one-year-old boy, who was swept away from his mother as they tried to escape their auto amid floodwaters.

As she tried to leave the vehicle, the boy slipped from her hands and was carried away by the water.

Property damage from the storm is expected to total at least $17 billion to $22 billion, but that forecast could be conservative depending on further flooding, risk management firm Moody's Analytics said.

The death toll officially hit 23 on Monday, with authorities confirming that the body of missing 1-year-old Kaiden Lee-Welch was located in North Carolina.

Among the other fatalities were two men in their 70s who died in Lenoir County - one had been connecting extension cords and another was blown by high winds when checking on his dogs.

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