NORTH CAROLINA — At least 23 dead, tens of thousands of homes damaged, and 700,000 homes and businesses without power.
The wrath of Hurricane Florence could be felt in the southeast, particularly in North Carolina, where already flooded communities continue to be slammed by heavy rains.
The National Weather Service warned that the worst is yet to come as river levels rise to historic levels.
Florence, which came ashore as a hurricane last Thursday, is expected to weaken again today, before re-intensifying on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since last Thursday, it has dumped up to 40 inches of rain on North Carolina.
Governor Roy Cooper said swift water rescues are still underway for residents and their pets. Most of the lives lost — 17 — were in North Carolina.
“More than 900 lives have been saved by first responders rescuing survivors from flood waters. We have about 15,000 people or more, that number is fluid, remaining in about 150 shelters across the state.”
New evacuations were ordered further inland as rivers get more swollen. In some areas, long lines of cars could be seen outside of gas stations. many reported waiting in their vehicles for hours only to be turned away.
Fil-Am Heidi Lewis of Hope Mills, North Carolina, said they heard a loud siren last night and she and her family were alarmed. She found out it was a warning from authorities to stay vigilant, especially for those living close to dams and reservoirs.
Lewis said that in times like these, you really have to make sure you know your loved ones and people around you are safe.
President Donald Trump has meanwhile declared a major disaster for North and South Carolina, easing the flow of federal aid to the states.