Hurricane Florence death toll climbs to 37; Trump visits stricken area

Hurricane Florence death toll climbs to 37; Trump visits stricken area

The sun is finally shining over parts of the Carolinas, but the clearing skies are only revealing the extent of Florence's wrath. He was heading to a briefing at a Marine Corps air station where Air Force One landed in the coastal town of Havelock, one of many communities hit by the torrential rains.

As Florence was bearing down on the Carolinas last week, Trump reignited the controversy over his handling of Maria by disputing the official death toll of 2,975 in the United States territory, which was compiled by public health experts at George Washington University.

The hurricane prompted widespread evacuations and about 10,000 people remain in shelters, the governor said. "First of all, I think we're all just thankful it wasn't the monster that it was forecast as earlier in the week", he said.

Much of Columbus County, where Fair Bluff is located, was under water, according to Steve Abbott of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, with most roads closed and "driving not advised".

Storm surge swamped portions of New Bern and eastern Craven County, requiring more than 300 water rescues in the area.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday that "catastrophic flooding and tornadoes are still claiming lives and property". High-water rescue teams plucked the deputies from the top of the van.

Police say they died on Tuesday when a sheriff's van transporting them was caught in floodwaters.

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Hewett said the Cape Fear River could crest to its highest historic level - about 62 feet - by Wednesday. Near Chinquapin, a community nearly entirely underwater, a monitoring gauge used by the U.S. Geological Survey stopped working Sunday after water levels hit its operational limit of 24.2 feet (7.3 meters) - 8 feet (2 meters) above major flood stage.

"We are cautioning everyone not to be overconfident", City Administrator Adam Emrick said. The region is now dealing with massing flooding in the wake of Florence's path.

"There is a strong potential that those who live within the 1-mile evacuation area of the Cape Fear River will be impacted by flooding", the city said in a statement.

Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC.

"It's truly devastating for me to see the damage that Hurricane Florence is doing to my beloved home state of North Carolina and to the surrounding areas", Jordan, who is the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, said last week in a statement posted on the team's website announcing its charity work.

In Wilmington on Tuesday, workers began handing out supplies using a system resembling a giant fast-food drive-thru: Drivers pulled up to a line of pallets, placed an order and left without having to get out.

Evacuees from Pender and Brunswick counties should especially not go home due to flooding, he said.

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