More than two weeks after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas and Virginia, thousands of people living in coastal areas are still worried about the dramatic effects caused by its aftermath.
Officials have asked between 6,000 and 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, to be ready to leave their homes in the face of a historical event, due to predictions of expected floods of up to 10 feet caused by rainfall.
The county dodged the brunt of Hurricane Florence’s wind, but as it sits at the mouths of the Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Sampit rivers, it will not be able to escape the severe floods.
The Great Pee Dee and the Waccamaw Rivers have already swollen to record levels upstream, and that water is now traveling downstream at record levels.
Large amounts of polluted runoff are still running into coastal waterways all along areas of the coast that were hit by torrential rains from the hurricane. This flow contains high levels of bacteria and other pollutants that come from both natural and human sources.
Coastal Review Online reported announced that coastal towns such as Emerald Isle and Pine Knoll Shores are urging citizens to stay out of standing water due to contamination and possible infections and diseases that can arise. Floodwaters and stormwater runoff can hold pollutants such as waste from septic systems, wildlife, sewer line breaks, petroleum products, and other chemical compounds.
Jim Trogdon, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, stated that parts of the north-south route on the East coast, Interstate 95, and the main road to Wilmington, Interstate 40, remain flooded and will likely be closed at least until the end of September.
More than a thousand other roads from main highways to neighborhood lanes are closed in the Carolinas. Some of them have been washed out entirely.
The full extent of the damage from Hurricane Florence is rising and now starting to become clear. Governor Roy Cooper put to rest any comparison that places 2016’s Hurricane Matthew higher regarding total devastation.
Cooper stated the number of residents applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance so far is already close to the total number of applicants who applied after Matthew. The state has recorded 35 storm-related deaths so far.
The state Agriculture Department announced that crop and livestock losses were estimated at over $1.1 billion in North Carolina.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said damages are expected to be significant because harvests were under way or just getting started.
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