Torrential rains from Hurricane Matthew triggered intense flooding in North Carolina, with thousands of people becoming trapped suddenly in homes and cars. Rescuers used Coast Guard helicopters to pluck some of them from rooftops, while others were reached from military vehicles.
At least 17 people are dead in the U.S., with at least eight victims coming from North Carolina. According to the state’s governor Pat McCroy, authorities were searching for five people with fears of finding more victims.
In addition, four people died in Florida, three died in Georgia, with another two dying in South CArolina.
“Hurricane Matthew is off the map,” McCroy said. “But it is still with us. And it is still deadly.”
Over a million people are without power in the Carolinas, with at least four separate sections of Interstate 95, a major artery connecting the U.S. East Coast, closed in the state.
According to McCroy, search and rescue teams hadn’t been able to make it to rural areas and those that flooded overnight.
“There could be some backroads where we had people swept away,” he said. “I’m praying that is not going to be.”
Nearly 15 inches of rain fell in Fayetteville, with eight inches falling in Raleigh. McCroy warned that cities along rivers in eastern North Carolina needed to be prepared for days of flooding. Lumberton’s Lumber River was four feet above its record level Sunday afternoon with forecasts leaving it there for at least five days.
Elsewhere, things are slowly returning to normal. Much of Savannah, Georgia is still without electricity, where 150 people waited in line to get supplies at a grocery store.
According to property data firm CoreLogic, insured losses on home and commercial properties would range from $4-$6 billion compared to the $40 billion in losses for Hurricane Katrina and $20 billion for Superstorm Sandy.