The longest week: Carolinas are worn out by Florence

The National Weather Service radar map shows the rain storm over New Hampshire on Sept. 18 7 a.m

The National Weather Service radar map shows the rain storm over New Hampshire on Sept. 18 7 a.m. Credit NWS

Roads remained unsafe, and some were still being closed as swollen rivers emptied toward the ocean. "People in hard hit communities do want to go back, but many are still having to wait".

Two years ago, flooding ruined the baseboards and carpet.

Forecasters said floodwaters in parts of coastal SC won't reach their highest levels until next week.

Santee Cooper in SC, a state-owned utility, is placing an inflatable dam around a coal ash pond near Conway, saying the extra 76 centimetres should be enough to keep floodwaters out.

Wilmington, the coastal city 50 miles north of the SC border that was completely shuttered by the storm, remains unreachable by road.

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Smita Depani, center, stands in the apartment she lived in while surveying the damage with her brother-in-law Jayanti Depani, left, and sister-in-law Puspa Manvar in the motel they own which was destroyed in the flooding from Hurricane Florence in Spring Lake, N.C., Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018.

There were 31 deaths in North Carolina, nine in SC and two in Virginia.

During a packed day, a wind-breaker-clad Trump visited both North and SC, distributed meals at a church, walked amid piles of sodden furniture in damaged neighborhoods, offered hugs and handshakes to residents and discussed the response efforts with local and state officials.

Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the Carolinas with over 4 million customers, said it had restored power to more than 1.7 million of its almost 1.8 million customers affected by the storm.

Then there is the danger of coal ash polluting the water supply as well. And waste from those hog farms has been leaking into floodwaters.

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North Carolina farms lost an estimated 3.4 million poultry birds and 5,500 pigs, the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services said. Asked whether he thought his home and flood insurance would offer enough this time to rebuild, or if he would need further government assistance, he said he wasn't sure. "Citizens all across our country rallied to rescue the stranded, to protect the innocent and to restore hope to families who've experienced tremendous and unbearable loss".

The Little Pee Dee River and the Lumber River have started to drop near Nichols, where the whole town of 360 was under water for the second time in two years.

"I wish my faith was always that strong", Whiteis wrote in a Facebook post about the photo.

In some areas, it will by days or weeks before the floodwaters fully recede and the landscape returns to normal. They also warn more evacuations are possible as forecasters get a better idea how high the river will get. Some areas are expected to be at risk from even higher water levels through the end of the weekend.

The closure affected all lanes of the Interstate at mile marker 175 - just northeast of Florence, S.C. There is no timetable for the road to be reopened.

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