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10 days after Florence’s landfall, flooding continues in Carolinas

Flooding from Hurricane Florence in South Carolina. ( Photo: South Carolina Air National Guard )

The heavy rain from Hurricane Florence has been gone for days, but rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told to plan to leave their homes on Monday before rivers reach their crest.

Many of these people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, and were told to be ready to evacuate potential flood zones along parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers, according to county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers.

The county’s emergency management director, Sam Hodge, said in a Facebook video over the weekend that authorities are closely watching river gauges, and law enforcement would be going door to door in any threatened areas.

Hodge warned people not to wait for an official evacuation order if they begin to feel unsafe.

As of early Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, four river gauges in North Carolina still showed major flood stage levels and three others were at moderate flood stage; South Carolina had two at major flood level and one at moderate. The Cape Fear River is expected to remain at major flood levels in several areas this week, and parts of Interstate 40 are still flooded, and major flooding will persist for at least a few more days in eastern counties along the Black, Lumber, and Neuse rivers.

While many smaller roads remain impassable, Interstate 95 in North Carolina was reopened to all traffic Sunday night for the first time since the floods, according to Governor Roy Cooper and the state’s department of transportation. The South Carolina Department of Transportation also says I-95 is open throughout the state, and Interstate 40 is now open from Wilmington to NC 41 (Exit 385) according to the NCDOT web site.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety tells FreightWaves that more water rescues happened over the weekend. So far 5,214 people have been saved by first responders and emergency staff, 2,286 are still in in shelters, and 1,067 pets have been rescued.

So far more than 40 people have died as a result of Florence’s flooding since it  slammed into the coast on September 14. Moody’s Analytics offered a preliminary estimate last Friday that Florence has caused $38-$50 billion in property and vehicle damage, and lost economic output.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.