Hurricane Matthew Blamed for Six More Deaths in North Carolina

Residents and rescue teams navigate floodwaters on October 10, 2016 in Lumberton, North Carolina.
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Residents and rescue teams navigate floodwaters on October 10, 2016 in Lumberton, North Carolina.

Six more people in North Carolina have been killed by floodwaters sweeping the state after Hurricane Matthew, authorities said Tuesday.

Seventeen people are now confirmed to have died in the storm, Gov. Pat McCrory said. At least 36 people have been killed by Hurricane Matthew across five Southeastern states.

Another person was killed in a confrontation with a state trooper in Lumberton, North Carolina, where emergency crews spent Monday rescuing residents stranded by floodwaters. McCrory said the man was driving through water in a Humvee when the trooper shot him.

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A Department of Safety statement said the man who was shot had taken out a handgun and was acting "hostile" toward deputies. The incident, which McCrory said happened in "very difficult circumstances," is under investigation.

More than 2,000 people had to be rescued during and after the storm as water filled their homes and washed over streets, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

President Barack Obama approved requests for disaster declarations in 31 counties, as power outages across the state remained above 250,000.

The governor said the priority was getting the 4,000 people who were in shelters back to their homes as quickly as possible. But even as he sought to relieve shelters, more people were being ordered to evacuate due to rivers that continued to rise.

Greenville and Princeville residents were told to flee their homes as the Tar River rose, and McCrory warned that people should heed the order.

"Get out, get out now," he said, adding that more than 50 people had refused to leave. "We are not messing around, and we don't want to put people at risk to save you. Too many people have died."

The scope of the storm's devastation in North Carolina won't be clear until the floods recede and crews can assess the damage.

In Haiti, which absorbed the brunt of Matthew, hundreds of people were killed.