Flooding on the horizon for South Carolina, a week after Florence

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U.S. President Donald Trump greets people while distributing food after Hurricane Florence in New Bern North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump embraces a boy while helping hand out meals with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (L) at a distribution center at Temple Baptist Church while participating in a tour of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Dustin Mock navigates a flooded street as flood waters rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence now downgraded to a tropical depression in Conway, South Carolina, U.S. September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Randall Hill
U.S. President Donald Trump walks down a street while on a tour of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Michael Ziolkowski, a Field Operations Supervisor for the National Disaster Response K-9 Unit and his partner, Morty, are transported to support relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Spring Lake, North Carolina, September 16, 2018. Spc. Austin T. Boucher/U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS
Emergency personnel and local media drive through flooded streets to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Florence, in Spring Lake, North Carolina, September 17, 2018. Spc. Austin T. Boucher/U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS
Local residents walk along the edge of a collapsed road that ran atop Patricia Lake's dam after it collapsed in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, in Boiling Spring Lakes, North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Members of the National Guard work on a long sand bag flood barrier being built by the South Carolina Department of Transportation on U.S. 501 to lesson damage to roads anticipated from floods caused by Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical depression, in Conway, South Carolina, U.S. September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Flooded roads, farms, and homes, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, are seen in this satellite image over the area surrounding Wallace, North Carolina, U.S., September 20, 2018. Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company/Handout via REUTERS
A flooded chicken farm, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, is seen in this satellite image over the area surrounding Wallace, North Carolina, U.S., September 20, 2018. Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company/Handout via REUTERS
A flooded residential community, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, is seen in this satellite image over the area surrounding Wallace, North Carolina, U.S., September 20, 2018. Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company/Handout via REUTERS
A closeup of flooded homes and roads near the River Landing Country Club, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, is seen in this satellite image over the area in Wallace, North Carolina, U.S., September 20, 2018. Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company/Handout via REUTERS

KINSTON, N.C. (Reuters) – Residents in Georgetown County, South Carolina, where five rivers flow into the ocean, will prepare on Friday for a deluge of water in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, which has killed more than 40 people.

Lying on Atlantic Ocean between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, the county of about 60,000 people is one of several areas across the Carolinas waiting anxiously for rivers to crest, a week after Florence dumped some three feet of rain in the region.

Flooding could begin early next week, officials said during a community meeting on Thursday. The city of Georgetown on Friday will hand out 15,000 sandbags as the county develops plans to evacuate residents.

“Please heed the warnings,” Sheriff Lane Cribb said. “Protecting lives and property will be our goal … You better pray. I think we all need to pray that it don’t happen.”

More than three dozen flood gauges in North and South Carolina showed flooding. Some rivers had still not crested by Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Thirty-one deaths have been attributed to the storm in North Carolina, eight in South Carolina and one in Virginia.

Some 4,700 people across North Carolina have been rescued by boat or helicopter since the storm made landfall, twice as many as in Hurricane Matthew two years ago, according to state officials. About 10,000 remain in shelters.

The coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina, remained cut off by floodwaters on Thursday. More than 200 roads across the state were closed or blocked as residents. Over 60,000 customers were without power in North Carolina early on Friday, according to Poweroutage.us.

As floodwaters continue to rise, concerns are growing about the environmental and health dangers lurking in the water.

The flooding has caused 21 hog “lagoons,” which store manure from pig farms, to overflow in North Carolina, creating a risk that standing water will be contaminated, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. North Carolina is one of the leading hog-producing states in the country.

Several sewer systems in the region also have released untreated or partly treated sewage and storm water into waterways over the last week, local media reported.

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