Florence death toll jumps to 31 as flooding wreaks havoc

Doug Mendoza
September 21, 2018

On September 18, the State's Department of Environmental Quality reported that four of the "lagoons" had been breached allowing manure to escape, 13 others had overflowed their banks due to the rainwater, and nine more had been inundated by flooding from nearby streams.

When storms such as Harvey, which struck Texas last year, and Florence come to a virtual stall, a deluge of rain can fall in the matter of days, equal to what an area typically sees in a year, they said. North and SC both backed Trump in the 2016 election, and the president largely saw people who were happy to greet him.

That would put water levels about 2 feet higher than the river's level just two years ago during Hurricane Matthew.

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.

Boyd says about 40 percent of the crop remained in the field when the storm arrived, and often leaves at the top of the stalks considered the most valuable had yet to be harvested.

The Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina estimates 100 million to 125 million pounds of tobacco leaf could be damaged by flooding, winds and power outages.

And in Conway, S.C., the river is still rising.

More than 8,100 North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia residents, forced to evacuate, are still living in Red Cross shelters or with family and friends.

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After the press conference began, Trump insisted someone pull up a chair for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to give him a seat at the table, prompting laughs from the officials gathered to address the devastating impact of the storm.

The storm is responsible for at least 37 deaths, including 27 in North Carolina, eight in SC and two in Virginia. Some areas could stay underwater for weeks, forecasters warned.

"People should always assume that flood water is always contaminated", Betsey Tilson of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, said.

The lake is a former cooling pond at the L.V. Sutton Power Station and is adjacent to three large coal ash dumps. Though it is still unclear how much of the waste is in the storm water, even small exposures to feces, which contain bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, can pose significant health issues to the residents.

Five-year-old Carter, who goes to kindergarten at Conway Elementary School, was wondering why he hasn't been to school for the past week.

Mr. Trump, still wearing his navy windbreaker, opened the meeting by thanking officials, first responders, utility companies and others for helping neighborhoods recover from Hurricane Florence.

He asked if everyone was OK, then said it was "going to be OK". "I am heartbroken", she wrote in a text.

Other reports by GizPress

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