The Latest: Lawmakers work on disaster relief for schools
BLADENBORO, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the remnants of Hurricane Florence (all times local):
North Carolina legislators say they’re working on a disaster relief bill that will address extended public school closures and teacher pay issues resulting from Hurricane Florence.
Republican state education leaders announced Monday in Wilmington that they’re planning legislation designed to ensure teachers at still-shuttered schools that they will get paid without using vacation time.
Sen. Michael Lee of Wilmington, Rep. Craig Horn of Weddington and state Superintendent Mark Johnson also discussed adjusting the school calendar law to address lost classroom time because of closures.
Horn says changes would apply to schools both in the worst damaged areas and those that didn’t take direct hits.
The proposal would be part of broader disaster funding legislation the General Assembly will consider in an anticipated special session.
A hydrologist says most areas of the Carolinas have seen the worst of the flooding but people need to remain cautious.
National Weather Service hydrologist Todd Hamill says most of the rivers have crested and that water is moving toward the coast.
Hammill says numerous river crests set records across the Carolinas and though some spots are still in record flood stage, most are at the lower, major flooding stage. People there “still need to be cautious.”
He says one exception to that improving picture is the Conway river basin in South Carolina, where the Pee Dee and the Waccamaw rivers are still a day or so from cresting. Officials are working to get information to people there to make sure they take precautions.
Residents in a coastal South Carolina county are being urged to evacuate ahead of river flooding as all that water dumped by Hurricane Florence works its way out to sea.
Georgetown County emergency officials said Monday morning that the county is now on its highest state of alert because of the dangers of flooding along the Waccamaw River, the Pee Dee River and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The county warns that even people who do not live in flood zones should get out if they can, because road conditions could leave them isolated.
Shelters opened early Monday at Georgetown High School in Georgetown and Waccamaw Middle School at Pawleys Island.
The Waccamaw River was at 20.75 (6 meters) feet at Conway at 10 a.m. Monday. That’s already more than 3 feet (1 meter) above the previous record. It’s expected to peak at 22 feet (6.7 meters) at Conway on Wednesday. Conway is about 35 miles (55 kilometers) northeast from Georgetown.
Hurricane Florence is by no means done with the Carolinas, where some rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told to plan to leave their homes on Monday before rivers reach their crest.
About 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, were alerted to be prepared to evacuate potential flood zones ahead of a “record event” of up to 10 feet (3 meters) of flooding, which is expected to begin Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said.
The county’s emergency management director, Sam Hodge, said in a video message posted online that authorities are closely watching river gauges, and law enforcement would be going door to door in any threatened areas.
For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes