WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 17, 2018) (REUTERS) – Deeper flooding loomed in the hours and days ahead from rivers in the Carolinas swollen by Tropical Depression Florence, which has killed 23 people, even if rain-weary residents got a brief glimpse of sunshine on Monday (September 17).
The slow-moving storm, a hurricane when it hit the North Carolina coast, has dumped up to 36 inches (91 cm) of rain on the state since Thursday, displacing thousands. The flooding could persist for several weeks in some areas.
The coastal city of Wilmington remained cut off by flood waters from the Cape Fear River on Monday. Further inland, the same river, running through Fayetteville, a city of 200,000, was expected to reach major flood levels later on Monday, and would not crest until Tuesday.
Florence was headed through Virginia and toward New England and flash flood watches extended from Maryland through New York and southern New England.
In the Carolinas, the National Weather Service continued to warn people the floods were worsening.
Major rivers are expected to remain flooded for the next two to three weeks.
The death toll from Florence, which came ashore in North Carolina on Friday, rose to 23 in North and South Carolina on Monday.
The dead included a 1-year-old boy who was swept away from his mother as they tried to escape their car amid floodwaters. The woman had driven around barricades to get on a closed road, the sheriff’s office in Union County, near North Carolina’s border with South Carolina, said on Facebook.
North Carolina officials reported 1,200 road closures, including a stretch of Interstate 95, a major transportation artery running the length of the U.S. East Coast.
About 509,000 homes and businesses were without electricity on Monday in North and South Carolina and surrounding states.