The death toll from Hurricane Florence and its aftermath has risen to 14, according to reports on Sept. 16.
The most recent death occurred in Georgetown County where a man drowned in a pickup truck that had flipped into a drainage ditch, The Associated Press reported. Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson said that 23-year-old Michael Dalton Prince was a passenger when the truck flipped over on a flooded road.
The driver and another passenger were able to escape.
On Sept. 15, two deaths were reported in Horry County, North Carolina. Mark Carter King, 63, and Debra Collins Rion, 61, were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a generator.
And on Sept. 14, a woman and her child died when a tree fell on their home in Wilmington. The AP report said they were the first deaths to occur during Florence, which landed ashore as a Category 1 hurricane.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on 11 a.m. Sept 16 that the storm is now a tropical depression with much weaker winds, but the threat of heavy rains still persists.
“Flash flood warnings are currently in effect across a large portion of southeastern North Carolina and portions of far northeastern South Carolina. Flash flood watches are in effect across much of North Carolina…northern South Carolina and portions of Southwest Virginia,” the NHC stated.
“Powerful torrents of water are flooding homes, wiping out roads and sweeping away cars in North Carolina,” Gov. Roy Cooper said, the Weather Channel reported. “I’m here with an urgent travel warning: Stay off the roads in most parts of the state of North Carolina.”
According to The Weather Channel, about 600 roads in North Carolina were impacted by flooding. “This is an extremely long detour, but it is the detour that offers the lowest risk of flooding at this time,” said the state department of transportation.
The North Carolina Emergency Management said on Sept. 16 that 650,000 customers are still without power.
“I cannot overstate it: Floodwaters are rising, and if you aren’t watching for them, you are risking your life,” Cooper said, CBS News reported.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) head Brock Long said he expects the number of deaths to rise as flooding persists.
“The flood event, you know, people fail to heed warnings and get out or they get into the flood waters trying to escape their home. And that’s where you start to see deaths escalate,” Long said, CBS News reported on Sept. 16. “Even though hurricanes are categorized by wind, it’s the water that really causes the most loss of life.”
Meanwhile, the head of AccuWeather said that Florence likely caused tens of billions of dollars.
“AccuWeather estimates that Florence will cause $30-60 billion in economic impact and damage. To put this in context, we correctly predicted the full extent of Hurricane Harvey’s economic damage to be $190 billion last year,” AccuWeather Founder and President Dr. Joel N. Myers said.