Florence cuts off USA city of Wilmington

S Florence unleashes havoc on Carolinas

The death is the first reported from the storm not in North or SC, where 31 people have died - 25 from North Carolina and six from SC.

Transportation officials strongly advised north-south travelers to take wide detours - involving traveling hundreds of additional miles - around the eastern parts of both Carolinas, where rising river waters, caused by Florence's torrential rains, were flooding stretches of I-95.

With Wilmington cut off from the rest of North Carolina by still-rising floodwaters from Florence, officials plan to airlift food and water to the city of almost 120,000 people as rescuers elsewhere pull inland residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers.

"This is a monumental disaster for North Carolina", said Gov. Roy Cooper.

As the remnants of Florence moved into the U.S. Northeast, and the sun appeared in some areas for the first time in days, residents of the Carolinas confronted its after-effects, including power outages, impassable roads, and sewage spilling into flooded areas.

Wilmington, North Carolina, a city with a population of 110,000 people and an worldwide airport, has been cut off from the rest of the world by flood waters.

So far, there have been 17 confirmed deaths in North Carolina due to the storm. "Ask your neighbor who they used and their experience", he said.

"It's hard going through it all over again", Lumberton resident Bruce Mullis said, recalling Hurricane Matthew's rampage in 2016.

Tens of thousands of houses have been damaged, but for many parts of the Carolinas, "the worst is yet to come" as river levels rise to historic levels, said Zach Taylor, a meteorologist with the US National Weather Service.

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Its 11 p.m. update said, "Florence is expected to produce heavy to excessive rainfall through Tuesday".

The tragic toll in North Carolina includes a toddler who died in Union County; Kaiden Lee-Welch, 1, was swept away from his mother, whose vehicle had been overcome by floodwaters. Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six states, with North and SC in the bull's-eye.

More than 15,000 people are at shelters in North Carolina, according to CNN. "Flood waters are rising as rivers crest and will for days", Cooper said. As the storm begins to finally recede, they will kick into an even higher gear.

The Jayhawk and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft made their way from Cape Cod to North Carolina on Saturday with 13 crew members, including pilots, rescue swimmers, mechanics and support staff, Barresi said.

At its peak strength, Florence was a Category 4 hurricane, but was downgraded to tropical depression status on Sunday.

The storm, which slammed the US East Coast last week, has left over 500,000 homes in darkness as rescue efforts are ongoing to provide aid to the stranded people.

"When the electricity went out we heard weird noises and crashing... and their chimney going down", said Paige Tootoo, pointing to a house across the street.

State officials have continually warned people not to drive through water.

On Monday, authorities reopened a single unidentified road into Wilmington, but it wasn't clear if that the route would remain open as the Cape Fear River kept swelling, and officials did not say when other roads might be clear.

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