NC Has an Unwanted Island

Wilmington is temporarily cut off, needs airlifts of supplies amid flooding from Florence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2018 5:03 AM CDT
A group of local fishermen keep an eye on the Cape Fear River as they stage for potential water rescues while additional flooding remains a threat from Florence, in Fayetteville, NC, Sunday, Sept. 16,...   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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(Newser) – With Wilmington cut off from the rest of North Carolina by still-rising floodwaters from Florence, officials plan to airlift food and water to a city of nearly 120,000 people as rescuers elsewhere pull inland residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers, the AP reports. The spreading disaster claimed additional lives Sunday, with at least 17 people confirmed dead, and the nation's top emergency official said other states were in the path this week. "Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina, ... but we're also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to Ohio as the system exits out," FEMA Administrator Brock Long told Fox News. The latest:

  • Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence is still massive. Radar shows parts of the sprawling storm over six states, with North and South Carolina in the bull's-eye.
  • In Wilmington, the state's eighth-largest city, residents waited for hours outside stores and restaurants for basic necessities like water. Police guarded the door of one store, and only 10 people were allowed inside at a time. County commission chairman Woody White says officials are planning for food and water to be flown into the coastal city. "Our roads are flooded," he says. "There is no access to Wilmington."

  • The storm's death toll climbed to 17 when authorities said a 3-month-old child was killed when a tree fell on a mobile home in North Carolina. Three people died in weather-related traffic accidents, officials said.
  • In North Carolina, fears of what could be the worst flooding in the state's history led officials to order tens of thousands to evacuate, though it wasn't clear how many had fled or even could.
  • As rivers swelled, state regulators and environmental groups were monitoring the threat from gigantic hog and poultry farms located in low-lying, flood-prone areas.The industrial-scale farms contain vast pits of manure and urine that can pose a significant pollution threat if they are breached or inundated by floodwaters.
  • Some stream gauges used to monitor river levels failed when they became submerged, but others showed water levels rising steadily, with forecasts calling for rivers to be at or near record levels. The Defense Department said about 13,500 military personnel were assigned to help relief efforts.
  • President Trump says federal emergency workers, first responders, and law enforcement officials are "working really hard." As the storm "begins to finally recede, they will kick into an even higher gear. Very Professional!" he tweeted.
  • Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Typhoon Mangkhut barreled into southern China on Sunday after lashing the Philippines with strong winds and heavy rain that left dozens dead. More than 2.4 million people were evacuated from China's southern Guangdong province ahead of the massive typhoon, the strongest to hit the region in nearly two decades.
(Read more Hurricane Florence stories.)

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