Hurricane Florence hit 10 days ago and still hundreds of roads remain closed, thousands evacuated

John Bacon
People navigate floodwaters caused by Hurricane Florence near the Waccamaw River on September 23, 2018 in Conway, South Carolina. 
Sean Rayford | Getty Images

Ten days after Hurricane Florence roared onto land along the coastal Carolinas, hundreds of roads remain closed, thousands of residents remain out of their homes or under evacuation watches, and hundreds are still being rescued from rising waters.

The death toll from the storm has reached 43, and tentative damage estimates in the range of $50 billion place the storm among the 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said teams conducted more than 350 rescues over the weekend, raising the total to more than 5,200 since Florence slammed through the state. Ten river gauges in the state showed major or moderate flood stages, the National Weather Service said.

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"Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina," Cooper said. "Remain careful and cautious in areas impacted by the storm, and stay away from flooded roads and communities. Don't put yourself in danger."

More than 400 roads remained closed across the state, although the last blocked segment of I-95 was reopened late Sunday, Cooper's office said.

Parts of I-40 have slowly been emerging from the floodwaters, but other sections could remain underwater for another week. Firefighters from the town of Penderlea, in the southeastern part of the state, have been hosing fish carcasses off I-40 to prevent vehicles from skidding.

So far, 74,000 state residents have applied for Federal Emergency Management Administration, Cooper said.

In South Carolina, authorities in Georgetown County on Monday urged residents who live in or near flood zones along the Intracoastal Waterway, Waccamaw River and Pee Dee River to evacuate "for their own safety and the safety of first responders." The county opened two shelters and said residents who use them can bring their pets.

"Now is the time to put safety first above everything else," the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said on Twitter. "Evacuate to a shelter if you need to, take your pets with you. Your life is the most important thing to save."

Contributing: Jorge L Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press