Florence death toll rises to 42 as residents return to flooded homes

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On Tuesday, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture issued the mortality totals of livestock as the Department of Environmental Quality says that a dam in Duplin County was breached and numerous state's 16 rivers were at major flood stages.

About 25 miles (40 kilometers) nearer to the SC coast, Kevin Tovornik tore out carpet and removed furniture as a preventative measure because he expected flooding at the house he has owned for 20 years in Conway, where the Waccamaw River was still rising.

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

The city of Georgetown on Friday was handing out 15,000 sandbags as they develop plans to evacuate residents.

Flooding could begin early next week, officials said during a community meeting on Thursday, as water continues to drain into rivers and reservoirs across North and SC. "Today is the day that you need to start preparation for those evacuations".

Authorities have said 23 out of the 46 counties in SC could potentially be impacted by flooding.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he knows the damage in his state will add up to billions of dollars, but said with the effects on the storm still being felt, there was no way to make a more accurate estimate.

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More than 2,800 hogs on farms in North Carolina are estimated to have died in flooding from Hurricane Florence, exceeding the number killed in the state's last major hurricane two years ago, the state's agriculture commissioner said on Tuesday. About 10,000 remained in shelters.

Road travel also was a daunting problem in Wilmington, a city of 120,000 people still mostly cut off from the rest of North Carolina.

After an agonizing week of ravaging floodwaters, rising rivers, power outages and dozens of deaths, the Florence-weary Carolinas are facing the possibility of more flooding over the weekend.

Duke Energy said a dam containing a large lake at Wilmington power plant had been breached by floodwaters from Florence, and it was possible that coal ash from an adjacent dump was flowing into the Cape Fear River.

Officials are also anxious about contamination and environmental hazards from the storm, including the potential effects of coal ash.

The flooding from Florence has also caused 21 hog "lagoons", which store manure from pig farms, to overflow in North Carolina, possibly contaminating standing water, according to the state's Department of Environmental Quality. Ash pits and other embankments have ruptured under heavy rain in the past, and Duke Energy had agreed to secure the sites in North Carolina's lowland areas - but that work is ongoing.