Trump tours Carolinas as death toll from Florence rises

Coast Guard crews discuss tactics prior to conducting rescue operations in response to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina Sunday Sept. 16 2018. The Coast Guard is working with state and local agencies throughout the affected region. Image USCG

Coast Guard crews discuss tactics prior to conducting rescue operations in response to Hurricane Florence in North Carolina Sunday Sept. 16 2018. The Coast Guard is working with state and local agencies throughout the affected region. Image USCG

President Donald Trump visits a neighborhood impacted by Hurricane Florence in Conway, S.C. At left is FEMA Administrator Brock Long and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, second from left.

Two South Carolina mental health patients drowned in a prison transport van when floodwater from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence overtook the vehicle, according to the Horry County Sheriff's Office.

"Now it looks nice, but it's really the calm before the storm", Trump said, referring to water draining into rivers and waterways after Florence's epic deluge over the weekend.

US 70 is one of the major routes from Raleigh to the coast. One man told the president he'd named his dog after Trump. "It's just hard to explain".

"There is going to be both more inland flooding and more storm-surge, ocean-related flooding because the ocean is getting higher", said Brion Callori, senior vice president of engineering and research at commercial property insurance firm FM Global.

The disaster recovery aid comes from a fund managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and managed in SC by the state Commerce Department and the state's disaster recovery office, which was created after the 2015 floods, he said.

The victims were identified as Windy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, North Carolina, and Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach. Eight others died in SC, and an additional person was killed in a storm-related tornado in Virginia.

"It is compelling and sobering to see these storms come in back-to-back seasons", said Jim Kossin, an atmospheric research scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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The N.C. Department of Agriculture issued the mortality totals as major flooding continues in the state due to the storm's drenching rains.

"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end", Cooper said. Even though the rain has subsided, the resulting flooding remains a serious risk.

"Is everybody OK?" he asked those gathered, assuring them it was "going to be OK".

More than 160,000 people in North Carolina were without power as of 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and 850 roads in the state remained closed. "But please, for your safety and the effectiveness of our emergency operations, do not try to return home yet".

North Carolina is among the top states in the nation in producing pork and poultry, with about 9 million hogs at any given time and 819 million chickens and 34 million turkeys raised each year.

Fayetteville City Manager Doug Hewett said he's concerned that with the rain gone, residents may become complacent and try to get back home, which could be unsafe.

ANALYSIS: You'll get no argument from us there.

Augustin Dieudomme looks out at the flooded entrance to his apartment complex near the Cape Fear River as it continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Fayetteville, N.C., September 18, 2018.

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