Florence gone but its flooding a crisis in parts of North Carolina
Supplies handouts set for nearly-isolated Wilmington
JONATHAN DRAKE / REUTERS
With one of North Carolina’s largest cities, Wilmington, still mostly cut off by floodwaters from what was Hurricane Florence, officials prepared to begin distributing food, water and tarps to residents as yet more people were rescued from submerged inland neighborhoods.
Workers were to begin handing out supplies to stranded residents in the city of 120,000 people Tuesday morning, county officials say.
One road was opened into Wilmington at least briefly, officials said, and items have been brought into the city by big military trucks and helicopters, which also have been used to pluck hundreds of harried people from atop homes and other structures.
The rain finally stopped and the sun peeked through, but North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned that dangerously high water would persist for days. He urged residents who were evacuated from the hardest-hit areas to stay away because of closed roads and catastrophic flooding that submerged entire communities.
“There’s too much going on,” he told a news conference.
Crews have conducted about 700 rescues in New Hanover County, where Wilmington is located. More than 60 percent of homes and businesses were without power, authorities said. Roads are being cleared and the landfill is open to accept storm refuse.
Mayor Bill Saffo said he was working with the governor’s office to get more fuel into Wilmington. “At this time, things are moving as well as can be in the city,” he said.
Compounding problems, downed power lines and broken trees crisscrossed many roads in Wilmington three days after Florence made landfall. The smell of broken pine trees wafted through damaged neighborhoods.