After Hurricane Florence: Aerial views of flooding in the Carolinas

Flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence is seen in and around Wilmington North Carolina US

Flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence is seen in and around Wilmington North Carolina US

She said the company can not rule out that ash may be escaping and flowing into the river.

"They didn't clean the ditches", she said. That effort began in 2014 and was on track to be finished in both ash ponds onsite within a few months.

Residents were warned the confluence of the Big Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee rivers - where they merge - could reach flood levels even greater than those seen during Hurricane Matthew. He said that DEQ staff has seen that coal ash left the basin and entered flood waters at the H.F. Lee plant, and is trying to determine "how much of that, if any" has entered into the Neuse River.

Michael Regan is secretary of the state Department of Environmental Quality.

He said Saturday that the video and photos show sand and "potential coal ash" leaving the Sutton site, and the DEQ will put people on the ground when it is safe.

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Gray muck has been seeing flowing into the Cape Fear River near the site.

Environmental concerns were also continuing to mount.

Paige Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, said the company did not believe the breach at the L.V. Sutton Power Station posed a significant threat for increased flooding to nearby communities because the river is already running high. The program initially will be open to residents in nine counties, then will be expanded.

In all, 23 of 46 counties in SC could potentially be impacted by flooding, authorities have said. North Carolina industry leaders remain anxious about whether sweet potatoes and peanuts will suffer greatly as well. Cooper also urged residents of southeastern North Carolina to stay alert for flood warnings and evacuation orders.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the damage in his state is in the billions of dollars, but there was no way to make a more accurate estimate while flooding continues. People shouldn't drive on any of the roads east of I-95 or south of US 70.

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Floodwaters of Hurricane Florence breached a dam Friday in the state of North Carolina, and forced an energy company to shut its natural gas plant in the area. Emergency officials don't expect the water on those highways to recede fully for another week or more.

An area of 60,000 people, on the Atlantic coast between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, is one of several areas in the Carolinas waiting anxiously for rivers to crest, a week after Florence dumped three feet of rain on the region.

An economic research firm estimated that Hurricane Florence has caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output, which would make it one of the top 10 costliest US hurricanes. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward from the center up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) to the northwest.

Along the Cape Fear River, David and Benetta White and their four children were given short notice to evacuate overnight when floodwaters came rushing on to their property. They got in a friend's pickup and were eventually driven out on a military vehicle.

About 4,700 people across North Carolina have been rescued by boat or helicopter since the storm made landfall, twice as many as in Hurricane Matthew two years ago, while about 10,000 remain in shelters.

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About 25 miles (40 kilometers) nearer to the SC coast, Kevin Tovornik tore out carpet and removed furniture as a preventative measure because he expected flooding at the house he has owned for 20 years in Conway, where the Waccamaw River was still rising.

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