Weather

Florence's floods claim more lives, as pollution concerns mount

Flooding from Hurricane Florence is seen in Lumberton, NC on September 17, 2018.
Flooding from Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, NC. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Hurricane Florence's rains have finally left the Carolinas, but the risks there are growing with rising rivers.

The big picture: Florence's death toll had risen to nearly 40 by Wednesday, with the storm shattering rainfall records in the Carolinas and ranking as an event that had less than a 0.1% chance of occurring in any given year. (In other words, this was a 1,000-year event for many.) Floodwaters have breached at least two storage facilities for coal ash, and hog farms that dot the landscape of eastern North Carolina are reportedly leaking waste into floodwaters.

Florence's catastrophic, deadly flooding worsens in Carolinas

LUMBERTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 15: Members of Colorado Task Force 1, on the swift water team, head out to check on residents during Hurricane Florence on September 15, 2018 in Lumberton, North Carolina.
Members of Colorado Task Force 1, on the swift water team, head out to check on residents during Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, North Carolina. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Historic rainfall continues to wreak havoc in the Carolinas, where all-time rainfall records have already been broken. A swath of land between Wilmington and New Bern, North Carolina, is closing in on 40 inches of rainfall, as the heaviest rains begin to shift into a new, treacherous area: the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The big picture: The National Weather Service continues to warn of "catastrophic" and "life-threatening" flash flooding on Sunday as coastal North Carolina receives up to another half a foot of rain, since the circulation around the storm is still pulling in copious amounts of Atlantic moisture. The storm has killed at least a dozen people so far, and this number is likely to rise.