1.7 million chickens drown as North Carolina rivers swollen by Florence

Though the hurricane packed 90 miles per hour (145 kph) winds as it came ashore, the amount of water Florence pushed ashore and dropped inland has swamped vast areas still vulnerable to rising rivers. So far, twenty-seven people are reported to have died from the storm and the resulting flooding, a dam has failed, a coal ash landfill has collapsed, and millions of chickens and thousands of hogs have drowned.

Leaders in the Carolinas warned residents not to get complacent, warning additional horrors lie ahead before things get much better.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday could be heard telling a victim of Hurricane Florence to "have a good time".

"They got hit, but the big hit comes days later and it will be the biggest they've ever had", said Trump, who visited North and SC this week.

It was the same message at Trump's first stop in North Carolina, where Gov. Roy Cooper and federal and state officials briefed the president at a Marine Corps air station in Havelock, which sits among areas Florence hit hardest.

Experts have said that climate change has increased the likelihood of more massive, sluggish storms like Florence, capable of dropping record amounts of rain and touching off catastrophic flooding.

In South Carolina, emergency managers ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River. The National Weather Service said the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday, and shelters are open.

"If that road is in an area where it is a flood risk, and waters were rising, why were they driving on that road anyway?" said Bamberg, a state lawmaker.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan surveys flooding and damage from Hurricane Florence during a helicopter ride from Raleigh to Wilmington N.C. on Wednesday. Buchanan also assisted after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
View Slideshow

Through tears, she said she has survived hurricanes Floyd in 1999 and Matthew in 2016 but "this has been the absolute worst one".

Nearly exactly one year ago, DOT announced another round of quick-release emergency relief funds.

Officials have ordered evacuations along the Lynches River in eastern SC because of flooding from Hurricane Florence. Bridges are starting to close because of flooding, he said, and friends were struck in traffic for hours trying to cross the town of 23,000.

North Carolina emergency department officials said 23 truckloads of Meals, Ready to Eat - packaged USA military rations - and crates of bottled water had been sent into Wilmington. Hundreds of stranded residents lined up for food, water and tarps that had to be ferried into the city that's home to 120,000 people.

"I guarantee you. Two, three, four weeks from now, they still won't have them all", he said.

He said he was confident the state would "build our way out" of what he called possibly the "worst disaster" to hit in its history, with the cooperation of "Team South Carolina" and Trump. The governor asked for help "cutting red tape" to get his state the federal assistance it will need to recover.

After a briefing on the recovery effort in North Carolina, Trump helped hand out hot dogs and chips at a Baptist church in New Bern, a riverfront city that experienced severe flooding. The town of Wilmington still remains largely isolated, with no safe routes in or out.

Something else could be a problem, though. One was off the coast of the Carolinas with a chance of drifting toward land.