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The most telling images we’ve seen so far from Florence’s path.

The remnants of Hurricane Florence are finally exiting the Carolinas. The region has been deluged by historic amounts of rainfall — best measured in feet in many locations — and floodwaters along rivers inland are still rising. Wilmington, North Carolina, saw nearly 27 inches of rain. Other locations saw more than 30. Sand dunes disappeared from the coast in the storm surge.

The hazards associated with this storm haven’t ended; rivers are swollen and still rising, and there’s a risk that dams could be breached. And in the meantime, we’re getting a clearer sense of its toll.

At a news conference on Monday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper confirmed there were 24 storm-related deaths in his state. Some 2,600 people and 300 animals have been rescued, he said, and rescues are still “ongoing.”

“Even though the rain is moving away, the ground is saturated,” Cooper said. “Even a small amount of rain can cause flash flooding.” In total, USA Today reports, the storm has claimed 32 lives, including an infant.

In North Carolina, 314,000 customers are without power. Additionally, there are at least 4,400 customers in South Carolina and 6,800 in Virginia without power. Many roadways are still dangerous and flooded.

And there are environmental hazards as well: 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash — a toxic byproduct of coal power production — spilled from a landfill near Wilmington on Saturday and a second breach was reported Monday. It’s yet unclear if the spill washed into the Cape Fear River, which could potentially transport the heavy-metal-laden ash to the ocean. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality told the Washington Post that lagoons filled with hog waste at several hog farms had been overtopped by floodwaters.

There will be a lot of cleaning up, damage assessment, and rebuilding to do. Here’s what the situation looks like on the ground.

 Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Bob Richling carries Iris Darden as water from the flooded Little River starts to seep into her home on September 17 in Spring Lake, North Carolina.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images
The Northeast Cape Fear River was swollen due to the heavy rain from Hurricane Florence on September 17 in Castle Hayne, North Carolina.

 Steve Helber/AP Photo
US Coast Guard rescuers approach Willie Schubert atop a stranded van in Pollocksville, North Carolina, on September 17.
 David Goldman/AP Photo
A group of local fishermen keep an eye on the Cape Fear River as they stage for potential water rescues in Fayetteville on September 16.

 Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence surround a house and flow along the street on September 16 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images
A car drives down a flooded road on September 16 in Leland, North Carolina.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images
A local business is flooded on September 16, 2018, in Wilmington, North Carolina.
 Joe Raedle/Getty Images
People push a vehicle that stalled as it passed through the floodwaters on September 15 in Warsaw, North Carolina.
 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Portions of a boat dock and boardwalk are destroyed by powerful wind and waves as Hurricane Florence arrives on September 13, 2018, in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.
 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Diamond Dillahunt, 2-year-old Ta-Layah Koonce, and Shkoel Collins survey the flooding at the Trent Court public housing apartments after the Neuse River topped its banks during Hurricane Florence on September 13, 2018, in New Bern, North Carolina.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the power outages in terms of the number of people affected. In fact, the correct metric is customers. The story has been updated.

Author: Brian Resnick


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