North Carolina's Cape Fear River Rises to Over 60 Feet

"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to", Governor Roy Cooper said.

On Wednesday, thousands of evacuees were urged to stay away from their homes, rivers kept rising, and the threat of floods remained high in North and SC. The storm is being blamed for at least 37 deaths in three states.

Trump visited several sites in North Carolina and SC almost a week after the storm, which began as Hurricane Florence, started dumping rain on the southeastern United States.

The Cape Fear River was expected to crest at 61.5 feet (19 meters), quadrupling its normal height, on Wednesday in Fayetteville, a city of 200,000 in the southern part of the state near the Fort Bragg army base, according to the National Weather Service.

News correspondent Gadi Schwartz captured a video of a fire ants forming colonies in North Carolina's flooded streets, sharing the video on Twitter.

Damage estimates: Between $17bn and $22bn had been calculated in lost economic output and property damage, according to economists at Moody's Analytics.

The storm also closed 1,200 North Carolina roads, including 357 primary roads.

After being briefed on the recovery effort, Trump helped hand out Styrofoam containers of hot dogs and chips at a Baptist church in New Bern, a riverfront city on the coast that experienced severe flooding.

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In Horry County, S.C., two women being taken for mental health care died on Tuesday night when the sheriff's office van they were being transported in met floodwaters. High-water rescue teams plucked the deputies from the top of the van. The deaths are being investigated.

President Trump has arrived in flood-soaked North Carolina, where under sunny skies, he's getting a firsthand look at the devastation that has killed dozens of people and displaced many thousands from their homes across the Southeast. He praised first responders and said the country mourns with the families of the at least 36 people killed by Florence.

Wilmington is still mostly cut off by floodwaters, although officials have been able to clear a couple routes into the city. Each of the farms houses about 211,000 chickens, totaling more than 6 million birds that can't be reached with chicken feed.

Saves homes or a highway?

CONWAY, SC - SEPTEMBER 17: Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence surround two homes on September 17, 2018, in Conway, South Carolina. Flooding has also impacted areas such as Fayetteville and Kinston, where the Neuse River was still rising.

Mayor Lawson Battle said that as far as he knew, everyone in the town of about 360 people evacuated as the water first started to invade town Monday. Rivers swollen by days of rain still threaten communities barely touched by the storm. The sewage spill took place over six days, starting September 13 and ending September 18. Mike Sprayberry, director the state Division of Emergency Management, says FEMA officials have been in the state for days looking at housing options for the displaced.

A U.S. Geological Survey river gauge at Lillington showed the river was beginning to fall Wednesday morning.

As Florence was bearing down on the Carolinas last week, Trump reignited the controversy over his handling of Maria by disputing the official death toll of 2,975 in the USA territory, which was compiled by public health experts at George Washington University.

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