NC death toll rises to 33 from Florence; I-95 reopens through the state

Flooding on Interstate 40 NCDOT Twitter_1537747376272.PNG.jpg

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – As it seems Florence flooding is receding in some areas, rescues are still underway with about 350 taking place just Saturday night into Sunday morning in North Carolina, officials said Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, officials said the North Carolina death toll had reached 33.

Late Sunday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that I-95 had reopened through North Carolina. The key East Coast north-south route had been closed for days after flooding from Florence.

“Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina. Overnight and into Sunday morning, crews were still rescuing people who had driven into floodwaters or needed assistance,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release.

So far, 33 people have died in North Carolina from the storm. About half of those who died drove into floodwaters, officials have said.

The latest death happened when an 87-year old man who had evacuated to a Guilford County hotel died Saturday after falling and hitting his head, Cooper said in the news release.

 “Remain careful and cautious in areas impacted by the storm, and stay away from flooded roads and communities. Don’t put yourself in danger,” Cooper said.

Since the storm first hit, first responders have reported 5,214 people rescued.

Officials say counties in eastern North Carolina continue to see major flooding more than a week after Hurricane Florence made landfall.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday that nine of the state’s river gauges are at major flood stage and four others are at moderate stage. The Cape Fear river is expected to crest Sunday and remain at flood stage through early next week.

Parts of Interstates 95 and 40 will remain underwater for another week or more.

Emergency management officials said residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed will begin moving into hotel rooms next week.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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