More than one week after Hurricane Florence pounded North and South Carolina, killing at least 44 people, the states’ rivers and waterways are expected to linger at unsafe flood levels over the next several days, Reuters reported Sunday.
As the flood waters make their way toward the sea, they could continue to wreak havoc on the homes and roads in their path, meteorologists warn. Some areas of water, like the lower Cape Fear River near Wilmington, N.C., are unlikely to recede for some time.
“This isn’t over,” meteorologist Bob Oravec told Reuters. “Large sections of rivers near the coast won’t start cresting until at least early in the week, maybe later.”
“Damage can still be done,” he added.
Heavy rainfall over the weekend has made matters worse. According to the National Weather Service, dozens of flood gauges in the Carolinas showed flooding on Saturday, as residents struggled to evacuate the area.
As ThinkProgress previously reported, many parts of the Carolinas remain under water and inaccessible to residents. Breaches have also been reported at coal ash sites and various hog lagoons, which have been leaking toxic waste that could harm people’s health, as well as the environment.
Since the storm made landfall, thousands have been rescued by boat or helicopter, and many are waiting out the damage in shelters. More than 54,000 residents are without power. Many of those impacted by the hurricane are still grappling with the effects of floods in 2015 and the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Deaths include 32 residents in North Carolina, nine in South Carolina, and three in Virginia, CNN reported. The South Carolina deaths include two female mental health patients who drowned Tuesday while being transported through a flooded road. Authorities claimed that law enforcement officials couldn’t open the transport van’s doors in order to save them.