Home / National News / Flooding from ‘epic storm’ Florence isn’t over yet, North Carolina governor warns

 

(SWANSBORO, N.C.) — North Carolina’s governor on Monday called Florence an “epic storm” and warned that some parts of his state “have not seen the worst flooding yet.”

“This remains a significant disaster,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference. “The next few days will be long ones as the flooding continues.”

First responders have rescued and evacuated over 2,600 people and more than 300 animals from flooded areas, with more rescues continuing, Cooper said.

Rainfall totals in North Carolina and South Carolina have set new records from a tropical cyclone, with 35 inches and 23 inches respectively.

“We, the people of North Carolina, will get through this,” Cooper said.

A 1-year-old boy who was separated from his mother in North Carolina is the latest confirmed casualty.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office said rescue teams had located the body of Kaiden Lee-Welch, who went missing Sunday when he was swept away by floodwaters.

“Our thoughts and prayers for the little boy’s family and all the search team members and law enforcement officers who helped in this matter. Very sad situation,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post Monday.

His mother was driving on highway 218 when rushing water pushed the vehicle off the road.

“Her vehicle left the roadway and came to rest amongst a group of trees. She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water,” the sheriff’s department said in an earlier Facebook post.

Rivers across the Carolinas continue to swell and threaten neighborhoods with devastating flooding as hundreds of roads have become largely impassable due to the record-breaking rainfall.

Residents in South Lumberton, North Carolina, were evacuated Sunday as the Lumberton River continued to rise.

Mandatory evacuations were also issued late Sunday in Hoke County, west of Fayetteville, North Carolina, due to the potential breach of a dam at McLaughlin Lake.

With 500,000 people without power Monday, trucks are having a hard time getting into some areas cut off by the flooded roads.

Getting food to people stranded by rising waters is also a problem.

“With surrounding areas suffering as much as they are, it’s not even possible to go to New Bern or Morehead City,” Salvation Army chaplain Capt. Jon-Phil Winter told ABC News outside a Sam’s Club in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where the company had donated a large supply of food.

“We are kind of at the edge of the coast; we’re kind of cut off and so as we would try to reach out to cities around us they’re struggling themselves and so we can’t pull on those resources. … With those resources not being there, it’s potentially quite worrying,” Winter said. “This will get us through with what we have coming in, maybe today, tomorrow and then we’ll see where we are the next couple of days. Things may turn around in such a way that things are able to get in.”

Winter saw the flooding that affected North Carolina from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, as well as the devastation he called “on another level” from Hurricane Katrina.

“This isn’t as bad in some respects — it’s the sense of being cut off, that’s the thing that I think is a bit of a worry, knowing that we don’t have great access in and out of Jacksonville already, and once those roads are flooded we have no access in and out,” he said. “So just hoping that can kinda get cleared so we can get the help we need.”

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