'There is no access to Wilmington' as Florence flooding overwhelms North Carolina

Storm-weary residents of North Carolina struggled Monday to loosen the grip of Florence, the lingering killer that has closed
more than 100 roads, cut off power to almost 500,000 homes and businesses and essentially cut off the city of Wilmington
from the world.
At least 17 people have died in the wreckage of the hurricane-turned-tropical depression that dumped 30 inches of rain in
parts of the state since last week.

In Wilmington, officials were planning to fly food and water into the coastal city of almost 120,000 people. The National
Weather Service has measured 23.59 inches of rain at the city's airport since Thursday.

“Our roads are flooded,” said Woody White, chairman of the board of commissioners in New Hanover County. “There is
no access to Wilmington.”

The tragedies were widespread. Almost 200 miles to the west of Wilmington, the Union County Sheriff's Office said swift
water rescue teams were conducting a desperate search for a 1-year-old child swept away from his mother after a flooded
creek overwhelmed their car.

Dams and levees in areas pelted by Florence were showing signs of distress as rivers overran their banks and authorities
warned of more flooding to come. Landslides have become a concern as well — especially in North Carolina’s western
mountains.
Tens of thousands faced mandatory evacuation orders from communities along the state’s steadily rising rivers — the Cape
Fear, Little, Lumber, Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers are all projected to overrun their banks. Thousands of residents have
taken refuge in more than 100 shelters opened across the state.

"You know it’s hard to leave home," Gov. Roy Cooper said while touring a string of shelters across the state. "You miss it
as soon as you walk out the door. But tens of thousands of North Carolinians have had to do that this week."

The slow-moving storm was centered about 145 miles north of Greensboro, North Carolina, at 5 a.m. ET Monday.
Flooding and "catastrophic/historic river flooding" will continue over much of the Carolinas,’’ the National Hurricane Center
warned.

Emergency personnel have performed more than 900 water rescues in North Carolina, according to the governor’s office,
and hundreds more are awaiting help. Efforts to rescue them were complicated by the closure of roads, including parts of
interstates 95 and 40.

“The risk to life is rising with the angry waters,” Cooper said. “Wherever you live in North Carolina, be alert for sudden
flooding.”

A dam failure in Hoke County, North Carolina, west of Fayetteville, prompted officials to evacuate areas downstream and
raised the specter of further such failures.

In Rowan County, north of Charlotte, a flash flood warning was issued Sunday night over concerns about the Lake
Corriher levee, which had a partial breach.

In New Bern, North Carolina, officials said Florence had damaged 4,200 homes and more than 300 commercial buildings in
his city, forcing 1,200 residents into shelters.

"Our City has suffered one of the worst storms ever in its 308 year history," City Manager Mark Stephens said.

Eleven fatalities have been reported in North Carolina and six in South Carolina. Among the confirmed deaths: a man who
drowned when a pickup flipped into a drainage ditch, a couple who died of carbon monoxide poisoning running a generator
indoors, a woman whose vehicle hit a tree branch, a pickup driver who died after the vehicle struck a bridge support and
another pickup driver who lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster warned it would be days until the cresting of rivers in the most worrisome area along
the state’s border with North Carolina. Officials have been warning for days that flooding could be disastrous in the Yadkin-
Pee Dee River Basin, into which several swollen rivers that originate in North Carolina flow.

Florence’s heavy rains have sent water levels rising so high that they have submerged instruments used by the federal
government to monitor river levels in North Carolina, causing at least two of them to stop working.