After The Rains, Casualties Mount Amid Florence's Still-Rising Floodwaters In South Carolina, two women being taken for mental health care died when the van they were being transported in met high waters. Sunny skies have returned, but flooding problems are just beginning.
NPR logo After The Rains, Casualties Mount Amid Florence's Still-Rising Floodwaters

After The Rains, Casualties Mount Amid Florence's Still-Rising Floodwaters

Augustin Dieudomme looks toward the flooded entrance of his apartment complex near the Cape Fear River in Fayetteville, N.C., on Tuesday, as the river continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. David Goldman/AP hide caption

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David Goldman/AP

Augustin Dieudomme looks toward the flooded entrance of his apartment complex near the Cape Fear River in Fayetteville, N.C., on Tuesday, as the river continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

David Goldman/AP

As floodwaters from former-Hurricane Florence's massive rains continue to flow through the Carolinas, the end of the storm's damage is nowhere in sight.

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. The deputies transporting the two women reportedly drove around barriers and then were surprised by the flood. Authorities told media outlets that the deputies couldn't get the rear doors open, and the two patients drowned inside the van. The deputies climbed on top of the van and were rescued; they have been placed on administrative leave.

At least 37 people have died in three states because of the storm; 24 of those died in vehicles, the AP reports.

Nearly 3 feet of rain fell in some parts of North Carolina and nearly 2 feet in areas of South Carolina. And while sunny skies have returned, the water problems are just beginning.

"Understand: There is a lot of water inland, and it is continuing to make its way downstream," county manager (in Wilmington, N.C.) Chris Coudreit said, according to the AP.

More than 160,000 people in North Carolina were without power as of 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and 850 roads in the state remained closed.

Amtrak announced that it will resume passenger train service in and through North Carolina on Thursday.

While most people were able to evacuate, that wasn't the case with livestock. An estimated 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs died in the flooding, according to preliminary estimates from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The department says it is dispatching inspectors to start assessing damage and ensure food safety.

Agriculture is the biggest industry in North Carolina. The state ranks No. 1 in poultry and egg cash receipts, and second in swine. It is also the top producer of tobacco, but estimates for crop losses aren't yet available.

Teresa Nance returns to dry land after checking on her flooded home in Lumberton, N.C., on Wednesday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Teresa Nance returns to dry land after checking on her flooded home in Lumberton, N.C., on Wednesday.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump visited both North and South Carolina on Wednesday. He called Florence "one of the most powerful and devastating storms ever to hit our country" and promised federal support for disaster relief.

"People don't realize how a very difficult phase is beginning today, with the beautiful sunshine," he added. "We'll have it all taken care of."

President Trump hands out food on Wednesday at Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, N.C., where food and other supplies are being distributed. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump hands out food on Wednesday at Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, N.C., where food and other supplies are being distributed.

Evan Vucci/AP

And in Conway, S.C., the river is still rising.

"The Waccamaw is forecast to reach 20.4 feet on Monday morning and keep rising. Conway city leaders have said the river could surge past 22 feet late next week, sending enough water into neighborhoods to damage almost 1,000 homes," according to the Charleston Post and Courier.

That would put water levels about 2 feet higher than the river's level just two years ago during Hurricane Matthew.

People sit outside their home in New Bern on Wednesday. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

People sit outside their home in New Bern on Wednesday.

Evan Vucci/AP