WILMINGTON, Sept 18 – As flooding continues to inundate North Carolina, the death toll from Florence has risen to at least 31, with 24 deaths confirmed in North Carolina.
The state’s governor, Roy Cooper, said on Monday that the “epic storm” was still an immediate danger as rivers reach major flood levels.
The coastal city of Wilmington became an island amid heavy floods following the storm.
Officials have warned evacuated residents to stay away.
Wilmington grapples with Florence aftermath
At a news conference on Monday, Gov Cooper said “catastrophic flooding and tornados are still claiming lives and property” across the state.
“For many parts of North Carolina the danger is still immediate,” he said. “Some areas have not seen the worst flooding yet. This is a monumental disaster for our state.”
An initial estimate from Moody’s Analytics puts the cost of Florence between $17bn (£13bn) and $22bn, making the storm one of the 10 costliest hurricanes in US history, according to NPR .
Most of the monetary damage is due to property loss, and the company said these figures could rise as inland flooding continues.
In Wilmington, with its population of about 120,000, some 400 people have had to be rescued from flood waters, and most of the city remains without power.
The governor said that 23 truckloads of supplies were able to make it into Wilmington this morning, though officials are uncertain whether the single road into the city will remain functional as rivers continue to flood.
The National Weather Service has warned of at least two further days of possible flash flooding in the area before conditions are forecast to improve.
“Do not come here,” New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White said. “We want you home, but you can’t come yet.”
A city-wide curfew has been extended after five people were arrested on suspicion of looting from a store on Saturday.
The area is usually best known as a filming location for US dramas One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek, and as the childhood home of US basketball legend Michael Jordan.