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Florence death toll rises to 42 as residents return to flooded homes

Florence death toll rises to 42 as residents return to flooded homes

Dustin Mock navigates a flooded street as flood waters rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence now downgraded to a tropical depression in Conway, South Carolina, U.S. September 19, 2018. 'Because you're going to have a lot of water'.

A new round of evacuations was ordered in SC as the trillions of gallons of water dumped by Hurricane Florence meanders to the sea, raising river levels and threatening more destruction.

"We've been working to address environmental hazards caused by industrial waste mismanagement in North Carolina for over two decades", said Will Hendrick, Waterkeeper Alliance staff attorney and manager of the Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaign in a statement received by EcoWatch.

Wilmington, on the banks of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, was nearly completely cut off by land but emergency management teams managed to truck food and water overnight into the port city of 120,000 people.

In South Carolina, farmers face damage to cotton, peanut and hemp crops, the state said.

"Please don't make yourself someone who needs to be rescued", he said. For many residents in those areas it's not the first time they have been hit by a disaster.

After talking to more residents in New Bern, Trump traveled nearly 15o miles southwest to Conway, South Carolina, a city of nearly 24,000 that has seen record flood levels that surpassed levels from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Conway's city spokesman Taylor Newell said water could be "4 feet higher" there than when Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016. "We are anxious about Friday".

At least 36 deaths have been attributed to the storm, including 27 in North Carolina, eight in SC and one in Virginia.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday that there were 31 storm-related deaths statewide.




In South Carolina, the flood was far from over.

The women were being transported by sheriff's deputies from a hospital in Loris and from the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health in Conway to McLeod Health Darlington, CNN affiliate WPDE reported.

McMaster said Friday he had "contacted or attempted to speak personally with the families of everyone who we lost during this crisis, this tragedy", including the families of Newton and Green. Power outrages and the massive amount of water overwhelm solid-waste management systems in urban areas, and the manure lagoon overflows add to that.

Trump told the victims "America grieves with you" and "we're with you all the way". "Don't drive across it and if there is a barricade up, do not go around that barricade". He called Florence "one of the most powerful and devastating storms ever to hit our country" and promised federal support for disaster relief.

Officials continue to be anxious about contamination and environmental hazards resulting from the storm, including the potential impact of coal ash, an industrial waste created by coal-burning power plants that can carry health risks.

"People in flood prone areas or near waterways need to remain alert as rivers crest and stay above their banks in coming days", Cooper said. More than 200 roads across the state were closed or blocked as residents. The utility said it did not think any coal ash was at risk.

The LV Sutton coal power plant was retired in 2013, and today the plant operates as a natural gas plant, which Duke said continued to operate safely and is being monitored.

At least 24 of Florence's victims died in vehicles, and most were in accidents linked to flooding.

What made the situation worse was Florence's languid, 6 kph pace, and its proximity to the coastline which provided the storm access to an unlimited supply of water vapor from the warm Atlantic Ocean.

"Is everybody OK?" he asked those gathered, assuring them it was "going to be OK".


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