Editor’s note: Our sister publication, Port City Daily, is in Wilmington, North Carolina. Here is their report on how the area is handling the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
Near constant rain since Florence’s arrival on the coast have proved to be as dangerous — if not more dangerous — than the hurricane-force winds, causing record-breaking flooding in the area of Wilmington.
While remnants of Hurricane Florence, now a tropical depression, are moving faster now, even at about 8 mph the storm is still drenching the Carolinas, causing rivers and tidal creeks to overflow, swamping roads and flooding entire subdivisions.
The National Weather Service continues to warn of life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding. (You can read the latest briefing here.)
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is advising residents to avoid contact with flood waters, as they can carry water-borne diseases. The Cape Fear River, which overflowed its banks Saturday, has also been contaminated by a massive 5-million-gallon wastewater spill.
Wilmington-area officials have told residents who remained behind to weather the storm to stay off the roads. Local emergency response teams report downed wires, sinkholes and deceptively deep water on numerous roadways.
Florence has killed more than a dozen people, including a mother and child killed in downtown Wilmington by a falling tree.
Those who evacuated are being told that extreme flooding may prevent safe re-entry for a matter of weeks, not days. Duke Energy reports power has been restored to some areas, but hundreds of thousands are still in the dark.
Follow the coverage: Live Blog: The heart of Hurricane Florence
Most major grocery chains and superstores remain closed due to the power outage, but at least nine Harris Teeter grocery stores in the Wilmington area opened Sunday morning.