WILMINGTON, NC — Hurricane Florence is now responsible for at least 32 deaths, including one from a possible tornado that hit Virginia.
The storm is shaping up to be one of the costliest to ever hit the US, and although it’s now mostly out of the Carolinas, rivers there are still rising and many towns remain underwater.
Death toll rises to 32
CBS News has confirmed 32 deaths are being attributed to the storm as of monday evening: Twenty-five in North Carolina, 6 in South Carolina and 1 in Virginia.
Among the dead were Lesha Murphy Johnson, 41, and her 7-month-old son, who died when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Two other children who were killed were Kaiden Lee-Welch, who officials say was was swept away in rushing waters from Richardson Ceek in Union County, North Carolina, and Kade Gills, 3 months, who officials said died when a tree fell on a mobile home in Dallas, North Carolina.
A group of volunteers all too familiar with devastating flooding have gone to North Carolina to help in the aftermath of Florence. Cajun Navy Relief And Rescue is a non-profit group of volunteers from across the country. The group was created after flooding hit southern Louisiana in 2016.
CBS news was with the team in Lumberton as they evacuated 40 people from Highland Acres Nursing And Rehabilitation Center. Many of the residents were bedridden.
“Yeah, we are risking our lives, but this is worth it,” said Chris Russell, one of the volunteers.
It took five hours to rescue the residents and deliver them to area hospitals.
“I think what we were able to accomplish tonight, was to give these people some dignity, holding their hand, asking them if they would like to somebody to pray with them,” said allen lenard, another volunteer. “as much as i believe were were a blessing to those people, i know as a matter of fact, that they were a blessing to me tonight.”
The city has a history of flooding. Two years ago, Hurricane Matthew dumped 20 inches of rain on lumberton.
Dramatic rescues have become a common sight after storms across the country. Last year, cbs news saw volunteers go out in houston in the aftermath of hurricane harvey. Other “Cajun Navy” volunteers became famous for helping to rescue people trapped by floodwaters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The makeshift flotilla is credited with rescuing more than 10,000 people from flooded homes and rooftops.
Florence, which made landfall as a hurricane, is blamed for at least 24 deaths. About 500,000 homes and businesses are still without power in north and south carolina. Since the storm continues to cause heavy rains, flash flooding is still a concern over the carolinas.
Price-gouging complaints hit North Carolina on heels of Florence.
North carolina’s top law enforcement official is looking into hundreds of complaints alleging price-gouging in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
Attorney General Josh Stein has received about 500 complaints so far alleging price-gouging for essentials like gas and water, his office said Monday. Most of them were in the eastern part of the state, and investigations of some gas stations have already begun.
About 20 percent of gas stations in the state are without gasoline as of Monday, gasbuddy.com reported, while 10 percent are without power. In South Carolina, 9 percent of stations were without gas. Other stations have extensive lines of cars waiting to fill up, according to reports on social media.
However, Patrick Dehaan, head of petroleum analysis at Gasbuddy, said the popular app has not received any reports of gouging. “To date, we have not received a single photo of receipts or signs showing far above average prices,” he said.
Preparation for Hurricane Florence drove up gas prices by 5 cents a gallon in South Carolina, 3 cents in North Carolina and 1 cent in Virginia, according to aaa. But they have remained relatively stable, and the statewide prices for South Carolina and Virginia even today put them among the 10 cheapest states for gas.
“The situation will likely take time to improve but the good news is that fuel supply has not stopped flowing,” Gasbuddy analysts said in a note.
The North Carolina Governor warns “worst flooding yet” from florence still to come
By 5 p.m Monday, the system had top sustained winds of 25 mph. It was centered about 85 miles west-southwest of Morgantown, West Virginia, and moving east-northeast at 14 mph.
Forecasters said catastrophic flooding continued Monday in the Carolinas, and flash flooding and tornado risks were expected as far north as Pennsylvania.
Florence fast facts
- At least 32 people have died in storm-related incidents, with 25 dead in North Carolina, 6 in North Carolina and 1 in Virginia
- About 500,000 homes and businesses are still without power in North and South Carolina.
- As of 11 p.M. Monday, Florence was a post-tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 25 mph, the National Hurricane Service said. It was located about 20 miles west-southwest of Morgantown, Virginia and about 240 miles west of Philadelphia. Florence was moving northeast at 12 mph.
- Florence is expected to produce heavy to excessive rainfall through Tuesday. Portions of the northern mid-Atlantic states and southern New England are expected to receive an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain, with isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches possible.
Swansboro, North Carolina, has received more than 30 inches of rain; several other places have received more than 20 inches.