3.4M chickens, 5,500 hogs dead in Florence flood

Katie Ramirez
September 20, 2018

"It is completely devastating down here".

Twenty-one flood gauges showed major or moderate flooding early on Thursday in southeast North Carolina and northeast SC, where major waterways, well above their flood stages, were forecast to rise through the weekend before they crest, the National Weather Service said.

More lagoons were at risk of overflowing in the days ahead, state data showed, including 30 that are filled to the brim with waste and water, and another 25 with zero to three inches of space to spare.

The deaths, which have occurred in three states, include two women who were being taken to a mental health facility when the van they were riding in was engulfed by floodwaters from the Little Pee Dee River in SC, authorities said. "God bless you", he said during a briefing at a marine base in Havelock, North Carolina.

Cooper and other elected leaders took the opportunity of Trump's visit to warn the president of what could come in North Carolina.

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas, the president was focused on criticism of the federal response to the hurricane that battered Puerto Rico a year ago.

Authorities say two female inmates being transported to a mental health facility in SC drowned in rising flood waters after the van they were in was swept away.

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Trump walked through a storm-damaged neighborhood where waterlogged sofa cushions, mattresses and downed trees were piled up along streets.

"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to", Gov. Roy Cooper said as officials began distributing supplies to thousands of residents of Wilmington, population 120,000. Rescue teams plucked the deputies from the top of the vehicle.

Trump visited a neighborhood in Conway where residents were loading moving vans in anticipation of more flooding.

Across Carolinas on Wednesday, many roads remained closed and thousands of people lack power.

Association CEO Graham Boyd said about 40 per cent of the crop was still in the field when the storm hit. An estimated 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs died in the flooding, according to preliminary estimates from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Several sewer systems in the region have also released untreated or partly treated sewage and storm water into waterways over the last week, local media reported.

"There is going to be both more inland flooding and more storm-surge, ocean-related flooding because the ocean is getting higher", said Brion Callori, senior vice president of engineering and research at commercial property insurance firm FM Global.

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