Sunshine belies ongoing flood threat in Florence’s wake

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In North Carolina more than 1,100 roads remained closed and about 10,000 people remained in shelters. Photo credit: Bloomberg

Grant Loftin said on Tuesday that the sun was shining for the first time in New Bern, N.C., while continuing to assess the damage Hurricane Florence had caused.

All employees of his Hyundai or New Bern dealer were good – about two-thirds were back at work – but at least two lost their homes to the storm.

We just want to make sure that everyone is alright, Loftin said, and added: "Our first priority is our families and their homes."

In his store at least 12 new Hyundai Elantras and a second hand GMC Sierra from 2014 were counted by flood water. "Not sure about the roof yet," he said about his building. "We know it's leaking but did not have the chance to get someone up there."

Throughout the entire Florence trajectory dealers reported flooded stores and damaged inventory. The sign at a Cadillac store in New Bern was blown out on 10 vehicles. Jeff Mooring, General Manager of Trent Cadillac, said despite the fact that the dealer thought himself happy.

The storm was cleared on Tuesday to a post-tropical cyclone that produced heavy rain over the Mid-Atlantic and southern areas of New England, but parts of the Carolina & # 39; s and the East Coast are expected to be flooded for days.

Roy Cooper, North Carolina, said at a press conference at noon that 16 of the rivers in the state were in a flood phase and another three were expected on Wednesday and Thursday.

"Although there is no substantial rain in the forecast and the sun is shining, the rivers will continue to rise and we will see more flooding," said Cooper.

He said there were 26 deaths in North Carolina and that on Tuesday afternoon in the news reports the death toll of the storm was set at 32.

In North Carolina more than 1,100 roads remained closed and about 10,000 people remained in shelters. Approximately 2,200 people were rescued by first responders, and those efforts continued on Tuesday, Cooper said.

Floods remain the most common and persistent obstacle for residents in the affected areas and for dealers who try to return to normal business operations.

"We find out that the flood damage is much worse than we expected in the storm," said Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association.

The slow movement of the storm aggravated much of the flood. The National Hurricane Center had put the speed of Florence in the low single digits while it landed.

"At one point you could have run faster than the storm," Glaser said.

Glaser noted that funds for emergency aid are available from the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association. "We try to identify as many employees as possible who have suffered significant damage and to find out what we can do as an industry to help them", says Glaser.

Meanwhile, parts of the industry's supply chain were operational again. Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Cars both had their South Carolina factories in use on Monday and shut them off last week in anticipation of the storm.

The port of Charleston, where BMW exports cross-overs made by South Carolina, worked on a normal schedule Monday after closing time on Thursday and Friday. The storm continued to the north than expected, leaving the port unharmed.

Truck ports were open at container and breakbulk terminals, including those for cars, and shipping activities resumed, the South Carolina Ports Authority said in an advisory report. Intermodal slopes for the Norfolk Southern and CSX railways, as well as the inland port at Greer, were also reopened.

In the badly hit New Bern, Loftin said he was still discovering damage on Tuesday after a long weekend that began Thursday night when firefighters knocked on his door and ordered him and his brother to leave his two-story house. They were transported by boat across the street before being taken by bus to a makeshift shelter at a local school. On Tuesday he said: "The real impact of this has not affected us yet, I realize in real time."