3.4M chickens, 5,500 hogs dead in Florence flood

Hurricane Florence Death Toll Reaches 32 as Threat of Toxic Coal Ash Release Looms

Florence death toll rises to 32 as floodwaters linger in North Carolina

Hurricane Florence has claimed 26 lives in North Carolina.

"We have weathered storms before in our state".

In Lumberton, where the Lumber River inundated homes, Fire Chief John Paul Ivey couldn't even count how many calls authorities had received about people needing to be rescued.

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina, as Florence's remnants went in two directions: Water flowed downstream toward the Carolina coast, and storms raced through the Northeast and in to the Atlantic.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to get an update on storm-damaged areas of North Carolina on Wednesday at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

Trump's trip to the state follows criticism for his handling of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico a year ago, and more recently for disputing the official death toll of 3,000 in the US territory.

With Wilmington still mostly an island surrounded by Hurricane Florence's floodwaters and people waiting for hours for handouts of necessities like food, North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

At Fayetteville, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) inland, near the Army's sprawling Fort Bragg, the Cape Fear River had risen about 50 feet (15 meters) toward a crest that was predicted to be more than 25 feet above flood level.

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Residents of the Carolinas struggled to return to normalcy on Tuesday after taking a beating from Hurricane Florence, but their efforts were hindered by standing water and additional flooding expected from already swollen rivers. That has hampered efforts to restore power, clear roads and allow residents to homes.

At least one North Carolina dam has breached so far under the strain of Florence's flooding, but officials say no homes were affected.

Property damage from the storm is expected to come to $17 billion to $22 billion, the risk management firm Moody's Analytics said.

Preliminary statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed Florence had the fourth-highest rainfall total of any hurricane to hit the US mainland since 1950, with 35.94 inches (91.2 centimeters) at Elizabethtown, North Carolina.

In South Carolina, just south of the North Carolina border, I-95 travels through especially low-lying swamp land, and over the Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee rivers.

Experts say people likely got complacent about Florence because of a scale that only categorizes hurricanes by wind strength.

In South Carolina, 40 major roads were closed.

More than 347,000 customers, mostly in the Carolinas, were without power on Tuesday morning, according to power companies, down from a peak of almost 1 million outages.

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