By Michael Hernandez
The death toll from Florence continued to climb Monday as authorities warned of still more flooding for the already ravaged Carolinas.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper raised the death toll in his state to 17, as CNN reported at least six were killed in South Carolina. Most of those who died in South Carolina were killed in car accidents.
First responders are working to provide critical aid to individuals left stranded by flood waters that continue to rise around Wilmington, North Carolina. The port town is largely cut off from the rest of the state with only one route reportedly re-opened.
Still thousands of people throughout the Carolinas are under evacuation orders as officials fear that the worst flooding may yet be in store even as Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression from its Category 4 height.
“For many parts of North Carolina, the danger is still immediate. Flood waters are rising as rivers crest and will for days,” Cooper said. “If you don’t have to drive, stay off the roads.”
Major flooding is expected to wrack the Carolinas throughout the week, and officials are monitoring the threat from large industrial-type hog and poultry farms whose waste pools could pose major environmental threats should they be overrun by floodwaters.
Cooper reported 2,600 people have been rescued and evacuated already, in addition to 300 animals in North Carolina.
He said 23 truckloads of food, water and supplies have been shipped to Wilmington, a town of about 120,000 people.
Florence is expected to now head to the northeast.