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Large floods lingering more than a week after Florence

BLADENBORO, N. C. – Major flooding continues in eastern North Carolina for more than a week after the Hurricane Florence made landfall.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday that nine of the river gauges at major flood stage and four others are at the heavy stage, while parts of the Highways 95 and 40 remain underwater for a week or more. Emergency management officials said that residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed, will begin moving into the rooms next week.

“Hurricane Florence has deeply hurt our state, wounds that won’t fade quickly as the flood waters finally recede,” Cooper said.

South Carolina has also ordered more evacuations as rivers continue to rise in the aftermath of a storm that has claimed at least 43 lives since slamming into the coast more than a week ago.

The small farming community of Nichols, South Carolina, approximately 40 miles (65 km) from the coast, was completely flooded by water, Mayor Lawson Seizure said Saturday. He called the situation “worse than Matthew,” in 2016, hurricane, which destroyed almost 90 percent of the city’s 261 homes. Battle said the flood of Florence has wiped out the 150 or so houses rebuilt then.

“It’s just a mess,” said Battle, who was awaiting a visit from Gov. Henry McMaster. “We are trying everything we can to come back … but we need federal and state help.”

In Wilmington, where Hurricane Florence made landfall, and who were cut off by the water, the officials said they had identified three safe routes to the city. She encouraged people to avoid travelling in areas where the risk of flooding remains.

North Carolina Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said Saturday that the eastern provinces continue to see major flooding, including areas along the Black, Lumber, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers. The Cape Fear river is expected to crest Sunday and remain at flood stage until the beginning of next week.

He said residents who register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency can start with the move in hotels Monday. The program initially will be open to residents in nine provinces, will be expanded. A FEMA coordinator, said about 69,000 people of North Carolina have already registered for help.

North Carolina environmental officials said they are closely monitoring two sites where Florence flooded area are under a coal ash sites .

The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday that 10 the tornadoes spawned by the Hurricane Florence landed Monday in Virginia, the strongest of which level a flooring company in Chesterfied and killed one employee.

An economic research firm estimates that the Hurricane Florence caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output, making it one of the top 10 costliest U.S. hurricanes. The top disaster with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, cost $192.2 billion in current dollars, while last year’s Hurricane Harvey cost $133.5 billion

Moody’s Analytics estimates Florence has caused $40 billion in damages and $4 billion in loss of economic output, but the company emphasizes that the estimate is preliminary and may be higher or lower.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has an estimated damage of the flooding in his state at $1.2 billion. He asked the congress leaders to rush federal aid.

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Waggoner and Robertson reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Also contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit; Chevel Johnson in New Orleans; Meg Kinnard in Galivants Ferry, South Carolina; Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Michael Biesecker in Washington and Tammy Webber in Chicago.

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For the latest news on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes

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