Officials across the state are cautioning residents that more floods are expected this week.
The ferocity of the storm was surprising, according to Smith.
"It's pretty bleak", Bender said. He rationed the feed he had on-hand as best he could, and used 250 gallons of diesel per day to keep his generators running. Since numerous rivers near the coast are slow moving, meandering and tidal in nature, conditions will be worse at times of high tide this weekend. For example, in 1999, rain and flooding from Hurricane Floyd caused waste to enter rivers- and what followed were algal blooms and mass fish die-outs.
There are more than 3,300 lagoons in North Carolina, said Andy Curliss, chief executive for the NC Pork Council. But about a dozen still remained unreachable as of Thursday morning, Andy Curliss, the group's leader, said.
Areas are also dealing with increased public health risks from the flooding - including raw sewage, carcasses and wild animals that could get trapped.
Authorities have said that 23 out of the 46 counties in SC could potentially be impacted by flooding.
The animals killed by Florence will be buried, composted or "rendered" for usable parts, state officials said. The state is working to supply woody materials that can be placed around dead birds, helping them compost more quickly.
The tropical cyclone killed at least 40 people, and caused an estimated $17billion of damage.
State Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Baker said via phone that the drone operations will continue over the highway as the agency works to identify flooded and troubled areas.
"It is compelling and sobering to see these storms come in back-to-back seasons", said Jim Kossin, an atmospheric research scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
People in coastal Horry County and nearby areas had enough warning and certainty about where the water was going that hundreds loaded furniture from their homes into trucks and flatbeds to take to higher ground.
"We can attribute that additional rainfall to human-induced climate change", said Kevin Reed, a professor at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, who contributed to the study. "I would say by Thursday we will have a good count". He called Florence "one of the most powerful and devastating storms ever to hit our country" and promised federal support for disaster relief. Parts of the main north-south route on the East coast, Interstate 95, and the main road to Wilmington, Interstate 40, remain flooded and will likely be closed at least until almost the end of September, North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said.
Chicken flocks weren't all that were hit in Kinston County, where's Smith flock is located. They also warned people to not get caught off guard as rivers that briefly receded were periodically rising back.