The Latest: NC look at coal ash sites inundated by floods

A sign commemorating the reconstruction of the town of Nichols, which was flooded two years earlier by Hurricane Matthew, is in the water in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Nichols, S. C., Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Virtually the entire city is flooded and inaccessible, except by boat. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

RALEIGH, N. C. – The Latest on the aftermath of Hurricane Florence (all times are local):

12:45 pm

Water from the Waccamaw River began to flow to a Santee Cooper’s ash pond in Conway (South Carolina).

The company says that the overtopping of the Grainger ash pond No. 1 happened about 9 a.m. Saturday along the intake canal wall of the dike.

Company spokeswoman Mollie Gore says that there is no significant environmental impact is currently expected, because they had already dug up almost all of the shaft of the pond. That effort began in 2014 and was on the road to be finished in both ash ponds on site within a few months. An estimate of 200,000 tons (181,437 metric tons) remains in ash pond No. 2 in a corner the farthest away from the river.

Gore says the second pond on the site has extra protection against the rising river, which by an AquaDam, silt fencing and floating environmental containment boom that was placed during the past week.

The river forecasts project the Waccamaw reached a new historic flood level as a result of Hurricane Florence, a mysterious set by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.


12:32 pm

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

Michael Regan is secretary of the state Department of the Quality of the Environment. He said during a news briefing Saturday that the state is the use of drones for photos and videos of the site of a dam breach on the L. V. Sutton Power Station in Wilmington and the H. F. Lee Power Plant near Goldsboro.

Regan says that the video and photos show sand and “potential coal ash” leaving the Sutton site. He said that when it is safe to do so, the DEQ plans to have people on the ground to verify “the amount of the potential coal ash that could have left and entered the floods.”

Grey muck has seen flows in the Cape Fear River in the vicinity of the site.

Regan says that in the H. F. Lee plant, DEQ staff have seen that coal ash has on the left of the sink and entered the flooded area. He said that the DEQ is trying to determine how much, if any, is included in the Neuse River.

Environmentalists are concerned because the ash left over when coal is burned to generate electricity contains mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxic heavy metals.


11:50 am

North Carolina emergency officials say residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Florence will start with the move in the hotel rooms next week as a temporary housing programme starts.

Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said during a news briefing Saturday that residents who register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be able to begin the process of Monday.

The program will be available for the residents in nine provinces in the first instance and then will be extended to other provinces.

Sprayberry said that the state of the eastern provinces continue to see major flooding, including certain locations along the Black, Lumber, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers.

A FEMA coordinator, said about 69,000 people of North Carolina have already registered with FEMA for assistance.


11:15 pm

North Carolina’s governor says: “insidious” floodwaters are still a threat to the state more than a week after the Hurricane Florence made a deposit.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday that nine of the river gauges at major flood stage and four others are at moderate flood stage. He urged the residents of the southeast from North Carolina to stay alert for flood warnings and evacuation orders.

Cooper said that the flooding continues to make travelling hazardous in the affected areas. He urged the people not to drive east of Interstate 95 and south of US-70.

Cooper said: certain areas of the Interstates 95 and 40 are still under water. Emergency officials do not expect the water on those highways to draw for a week or more.

At least 43 people have died since the hurricane slammed into the coast more than a week ago.


10:50 pm

Weather forecasters say Tropical Storm Kirk has formed in the eastern Atlantic and is moving rapidly to the west.

In an 11 a.m. update, the National Hurricane Center said Kirk was 450 miles (724 kilometers) south of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving at 14 mph (22.5 kph) with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (64 km / h). Tropical storm-winds force to expand outward from the center up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) to the northwest.

Forecasters say that it currently poses no threats to the country.


12:03 pm

A North Carolina city flooded by the water in the river after a dike has been breached one of the last cities to feel the life-threatening punch of Hurricane Florence.

Benetta White and David Lloyd slogged through the waist-deep water to escape as a Cape Fear River water crashed in their garden late Thursday. She got a friend to pick-up and were ultimately driven on a military vehicle.

They were among 100 people evacuated by helicopters, boats and high-wheeled military vehicles during a six-hour rescue operation in the southeast of North Carolina’s Blades County, which lasted until Friday morning.

Officials in North and South Carolina warn that the flood danger is far from over, with South Carolina ordered evacuations as rivers rise. At least 43 people have died since the hurricane slammed into the coast more than a week ago.

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