Florence Death Toll Climbs to 37; Trump Visits Stricken Area

WILMINGTON NC- SEPTEMBER 15 People wait in line to fill up their gas cans at a gas station that was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit the area

Donald Trump Predicts Democrats Will Lie About Hurricane Florence Response Mark Wilson Getty Images18 Sep 2018

More than 300,000 USA homes and businesses, mostly in North Carolina and SC, were still without power on Tuesday after storm Florence hit over the weekend, power companies said.

Florence made landfall near Jordan's hometown of Wilmington, N.C., at about 7:15 a.m. Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

WALLACE, SC - SEPTEMBER 17: Floodwaters inundate a barn after Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, near Wallace, South Carolina. Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, has restored more than 1.2 million of its roughly 1.5 million customers affected by the storm.

The president traveled south Wednesday as the region continues to grapple with the aftermath of a storm that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said was "epic".

Just Tuesday, officials closed more segments of I-95. The flooding killed an estimated 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs on farms.

Two of the SC victims were mental health patients who drowned on Tuesday when a van carrying them was swept away by floodwater.

The National Weather Service said in a tweet Tuesday that many rivers in the Carolinas are in flood stage and still rising, and the "flooding could last weeks".

Trump's trip to the state follows criticism for his handling of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico a year ago, and more recently for disputing the official death toll of 3,000 in the US territory. A woman blew a whistle each time drivers had to pull forward. "Even though there is no substantial rain in the forecast and the sun may be shining across many parts of our state, rivers continue to rise and we will see more flooding".

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Todd Tremain needed tarps to cover up spots where Florence's winds ripped shingles off his roof. An olive-green military forklift moved around huge pallets loaded with supplies.

"It's been pretty bad", said Echavarrieta, 34, his voice breaking.

"Wilmington truly is my home", he told the Observer.

About 3,500 vehicles came through for supplies on the first day they were available, county officials said in a Facebook post. Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said it was unclear if the bridge was threatened.

"This will not result in bringing more business back to American soil: just six percent of our member companies say this current US-China trade dispute would make them consider relocating operations back home", William Zarit, the chamber's chairman, said in a statement.

The hurricane prompted widespread evacuations and about 10,000 people remain in shelters, the governor said.

Residents (from left) Mike Haddock, 48, Katlyn Humphrey, 19, Michelle Haddock, 45, and Justin Humphrey, 24, remove possessions from the Haddock's flooded home using a jon boat in Trenton, North Carolina.

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