The Latest: S. Carolina estimates 2K homes damaged by flood
GEORGETOWN, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the effects of Hurricane Florence (all times local):
South Carolina authorities say early estimates show about 2,000 homes have been damaged from floodwaters from Hurricane Florence and its remnants.
State Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson said Wednesday those numbers are quite preliminary since flooding is still occurring and could affect hundreds or thousands of additional homes.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long was in South Carolina on Wednesday. He urged anyone with damage from the flood contact FEMA as soon as possible to begin the claim process.
FEMA says 4,000 people in South Carolina have already registered and they’ve already paid $500,000 in claims.
The agency also added Georgetown County to five others in the state under disaster declarations to receive individual assistance.
One South Carolina community is getting some good news from the latest predictions on flooding from Hurricane Florence.
Georgetown County said on its Facebook page that flooding predictions for the hardest hit areas of the county have gone from 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 meters) down to 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters).
Authorities still stress that’s higher than Hurricane Matthew’s floods in 2016, which set records in many areas.
Officials say the flow of the Waccamaw River has slowed, delaying the peak of the flooding to Friday. But the county also warned that predictions on the river level are continually being calculated and could change again.
Residents of a flooded North Carolina town are suing a railroad company, alleging it impeded efforts to plug a gap in a levee.
Several Lumberton residents sued CSX Corp. this week claiming a railroad underpass owned by the company created a gap in a levee allowing floodwater to pour in after Florence.
The plaintiffs say the company knew about the problem for some time and the gap exacerbated flooding during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
The lawsuit cites a May 2018 report by state officials calling for a floodgate and saying planning was underway.
The plaintiffs say Lumberton officials were refused permission by CSX to build a temporary sandbag berm at the underpass as Florence approached. They say an emergency order by the governor allowed them to build a last-minute temporary berm but it was breached by floodwaters.
CSX issued a statement that it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but noted the “extraordinary storm” devastated Lumberton and other communities with its flooding.
North Carolina is reporting another death caused by Hurricane Florence and its remnants.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s office says a 67-year-old man died while cleaning up storm debris in Craven County, and the state medical examiner’s office determined that the death was storm-related.
State Emergency Management spokesman Keith Acree says the man died after falling and fracturing his neck while cleaning up on Sept. 18, days after the storm made landfall. The state has still been dealing with the storm’s after-effects including fallen trees, debris and floodwaters.
The man’s name wasn’t immediately released.
Cooper said the death is the 36th storm fatality for the state.
Across multiple states, at least 47 deaths have been attributed to the storm.
Conway firefighters say the city hasn’t seen many rescues or problems with the unprecedented flooding in the South Carolina city.
Conway Fire Chief Le Hendrick in part credits how accurately predicted the flooding was. Firefighters went around last week with a map warning people they were going to flood even though they never had before.
Hendrick said on Tuesday firefighters checked and those areas were flooded.
The Waccamaw River in Conway was expected to crest on Wednesday at 21.7 feet (6.6 meters). It surpassed the previous record high of 17.9 feet (5.5 meters) set in 2016 by Hurricane Matthew on Friday.
The waterway is not expected to drop below 18 feet or so until sometime next week. The river floods at 11 feet (3.4 meters).