The Latest: Red Cross says housing could be hard to find

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on flooding caused by former Hurricane Florence (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Red Cross officials say that residents displaced by Hurricane Florence could face difficulty finding temporary housing because of storm damage and an already-tight rental housing market.

Red Cross Vice President of Operations and Logistics Brad Kieserman said that North Carolina’s rental market was already tight before the storm. He said that much of the rental market in rural North Carolina was in homes and one-story structures that were susceptible to flooding damage.

He said that FEMA data indicates that tens of thousands of structures have been damaged by the storm.

He said that Red Cross shelters in North Carolina have about 1,700 people in them on Tuesday, down from a peak of 22,000. He said the number is in sync with state data because the Red Cross is operating virtually all shelters in the state now. He said about 200 people are in Red Cross-run shelters in South Carolina.


12:20 p.m.

Funeral services are being held for the two women who drowned while being driven to a mental health facility in South Carolina through a flooded area.

An obituary notes that 43-year-old Nicolette Green will be buried Wednesday in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania. Services for 45-year-old Wendy Newton of Shalotte, North Carolina, are listed as happening Friday in Hamlet.

It took authorities more than 24 hours to recover the women’s bodies from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office van that was swept away last week in floodwaters in Marion County. Crews retrieved the van itself on Monday, nearly a week after the deaths.

The two deputies driving the women were able to escape the sinking van. They have been placed on leave as the incident is investigated.


12:20 p.m.

The flooding in northeastern South Carolina from Hurricane Florence is providing the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Horry County officials said in a news release Tuesday that they would begin spraying for mosquitoes Tuesday night and continuing on Wednesday and later this week.

The news release said the chemicals being used are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and pose little risk for people or animals. But county officials say those with asthma or respiratory problems may want to stay inside with doors and windows closed during the spraying.


12:20 p.m.

Sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina are trying to determine whether the death of a man whose body was found in a ditch is related to Hurricane Florence.

News outlets reports the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said the body of 32-year-old Marcus Jamal Wiley was found by a landscaper who was cleaning up the area along U.S. 117 south of Goldsboro on Monday.

The sheriff’s office said the ditch where the victim was found had been flooded for more than a week and the water had just receded.

An autopsy hasn’t determined how Wiley died, and detectives are constructing a timeline.


11:50 a.m.

Forecasters say a storm system off the coast of the Florence-battered Carolinas will dump even more rain on the already saturated states.

The National Hurricane Center said on its website Tuesday that a broad area of low pressure about 260 miles (420 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, is producing showers and thunderstorms on its north side. Forecasters said it could become a tropical depression Tuesday as it approaches the coast, and will dump rain on the coast regardless.

County officials have recommended that almost 8,000 people leave their homes — more than 10 percent of the population. Officials expect floodwaters to top several bridges, nearly cutting Georgetown County in two and leaving only one highway out during the expected crest early Thursday.

The hurricane center also warned of dangerous surf and rip currents along portions of the North Carolina coast on Tuesday.


1 a.m.

Eleven days ago, Lee Gantt was at a Hurricane Florence party in her neighborhood in Georgetown, where the story is that some houses near the Sampit River haven’t flooded since they were built before the American Revolution.

Gantt will spend Tuesday with sandbags, watching the nearby river rise from Florence’s heavy rains and seeing if the luck finally runs out on her home built in 1737.

The Sampit is one of five rivers that reach the Atlantic Ocean in and near Georgetown on the South Carolina coast. And Hurricane Florence — which started with record rainfall in North Carolina — is expected to cause record flooding downriver in Georgetown County as its final act. The county has recommended almost 8,000 people leave their homes — more than 10 percent of the population.

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