North Carolina investigating 650 Hurricane Florence price gouging complaints

Stranded by Florence's epic floods days after the hurricane hit North Carolina, Wilmington residents lined up by the hundreds Tuesday for free food, water and tarps, while officials managed to open a second route into the surrounded city.

Utility crews from multiple states worked to restore power, and outages were down from a high of more than 900,000 to about 320,000 homes and businesses, almost all in North Carolina.

Florence was causing severe weather over Virginia as it moved north, with WWBT reporting a tornado outbreak that included at least one touchdown.

But it's impossible to say how deep the Lumber River is now, because the official river gauge stopped working a few days ago.

People who see price-gouging are advised to contact the state attorney general's office.

Cooper said about 2,600 people were rescued in North Carolina, along with 300 animals, and that the rescues were continuing. Power is still out for the majority of residents, and the ongoing flooding will make it hard for the power company to begin work to restore downed lines.

Residents (from left) Mike Haddock, 48, Katlyn Humphrey, 19, Michelle Haddock, 45, and Justin Humphrey, 24, remove possessions from the Haddock's flooded home using a jon boat in Trenton, North Carolina.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned that the flooding set off by as much as 3 feet of rain from Florence is far from over and will get worse in places.

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"We want you home, but you can't come yet".

Some Carolinians were relieved that the storm was pushing out, despite the continued threat of flooding from rivers.

"The worst is yet to come", as river levels rise to historic levels, said Zach Taylor, an NWS meteorologist.

The storm made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, NC, around 7:40 a.m. ET Friday as a Category 1 hurricane. "Now we're having river flooding, many of our rivers are approaching risky flood levels and the flooding is only going to increase in those areas".

It will make federal money available to people in the counties of Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender.

The slow-moving storm, has dumped up to 91cm of rain on the state since Thursday, displacing thousands.

The storm is expected to produce "heavy to potentially excessive rainfall" throughout Tuesday in parts of the northern mid-Atlantic states and southern New England. The toxic ash could run off into the nearby Cape Fear River.

More than 347,000 customers, mostly in the Carolinas, were without power on Tuesday morning, according to power companies, down from a peak of almost 1 million outages.

  • Joey Payne