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Gloomy forecast: Rain for Floyd-stricken Southeast

Updated:
TARBORO, N.C. (AP) -- More rain expected tonight could worsen the
North Carolina flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd that already is
blamed for billions in damage.

The flooding has virtually shut down the eastern third of North
Carolina -- an area twice as big as the state of Vermont --with towns
inundated and highways blocked by high water. Throughout the
weekend, 1,000 or more people still stranded by the high water were
rescued from rooftops by helicopters and boats.

At least 23 people were confirmed dead and others were missing
after 20 inches of rain inundated North Carolina's coastal plain.
They were among 49 deaths blamed on the huge storm on its path from
the Bahamas into New England.

President Clinton was scheduled to tour flooded areas today. He
already had declared the eastern two-thirds of the state a disaster
area.

Looting was reported in Duplin and Hertford counties, and Ahoski
police asked for help with security.

The Tar River was falling slowly at Tarboro after cresting at 24
feet above flood stage, but the town and other areas were under a
new flood watch through tonight, with 2 inches or more of rain
expected from an incoming cold front and moisture from Tropical
Storm Harvey.

It was the last thing anyone wanted to hear at Tarboro High
School, where 2,000 people have been sheltered, some since Thursday
when Floyd began dumping torrential rain on its run up the East
Coast.

"I really don't want to see it because there's nothing I can do
about it," said James Roscoe of Princeville after picking out a
pair of rain boots and a clean shirt from among donated clothes.

State emergency management officials have said damage may exceed
the $6 billion total for Hurricane Fran in 1996. Sen. John Edwards,
D-N.C., said Sunday he will seek $1 billion in relief just for
stricken farms.

"We're going to have thousands and thousands of people who will
be homeless, and they'll be homeless for a long time," said Steve
Glenn, deputy operations chief of the state Emergency Operations
Center.

Flooding, power and telephone outages and a lack of drinking
water remain serious problems from the Carolinas to upstate New
York.

In New Jersey, tens of thousands of people were in a fifth day
today with little or no water in their homes. With one of its
plants shut down, the Elizabethtown Water Co. asked businesses to
shut off water and even told residents how many times to use the
toilet before flushing it.

"I'm just glad to get any water," said Helen Kindon of Edison,
N.J., one of hundreds who lined up for bottled water Sunday.
"Brushing my teeth is very difficult. Cooking is hard; you can't
rinse anything."

In Tarboro, the Tar River was falling slowly after cresting at
24 feet above flood stage. But it will peak today in Greenville, an
already flooded community of 44,000.

"Everyone is figuring out their own survival," Carl Campbell
said as the river inched closer to his home.

In addition to rescues, National Guard helicopters are being
used to deliver food to stricken towns whose grocery shelves are
bare, and drinkable water is being rushed to counties where
wastewater treatment systems have failed and tap water is
undrinkable.

Nearly 300 roads, including parts of Interstates 95 and 40,
remained closed Sunday, and 6,400 people were in shelters.

In southeastern North Carolina, the Waccamaw, Cape Fear and
Lumber rivers also have risen to record levels.

No one is certain when streets with submerged cars and homes
will recede or how long the flood refugees will be homeless, but
people are eager to get back to their homes.

"I'm ready to get it together," said James Moore, who has been
at a shelter since Thursday. "I ain't trying to make this my
home."

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