RALEIGH (WFMY) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said there are now 17 confirmed deaths in North Carolina related to Florence with the storm finally beginning to move away from the state. Cooper said danger was still prevalent, mostly in the form of severe flooding with rivers not having crested yet.
"The crisis in North Carolina continues," Cooper said as he opened his Monday news conference. "Catastrophic flooding and tornadoes are still claiming lives and property."
Sunday night, a one-year-old girl was swept away by rushing floodwaters in Union County after a woman drove through barricades on NC 218.
Cooper urged people to stay off the roads if possible and told evacuees not to try and return home at this point.
2,600 people and 300 animals have been rescued from Florence. State officials say there's still over 470,000 power outages as of 1:30 p.m.
Florence made landfall as a Category 1 near Wrightsville Beach Friday morning around 7:15. The Triad saw the worst of the storm Sunday night and Monday morning. Much of the Triad saw 4 to 8 inches of rain with heavier amounts south according to the WFMY News 2 weather team. Asheboro saw over 10 inches in parts.
"Rivers are flooding," Cooper said. "Some have not seen the worst flooding yet. This is a monumental disaster for our state that affects many of our counties."
The Dept. of Transportation said there were 356 primary roads closed, much of them being in Brunswick, Carteret, Craven and Jones counties. More roads could close with more flooding possible. NC DOT Secretary Jim Trogdon reminded drivers not to go around barricades or cross running water.
"We're going to need significant resources to recover," Cooper said. "There's no doubt about that."