Monday morning news: September 17, 2018

Florence wreaks havoc in southeast » Florence continues to wreak havoc in the Carolinas. The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression Sunday, but the rain just keeps falling, triggering flash floods and pushing rivers into streets.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said Sunday that in many places Florence has dumped around 2 feet or more of rain.

COOPER: The strongest storm bands are dumping 2 to 3 inches of rain per hour. That’s enough to cause flooding in areas that have never flooded before—until now. 

Florence has claimed at least 17 lives so far, and flooding continues to spread. In Wilmington, North Carolina—a coastal city of more than 100,000 people—all roads leading in and out are now underwater. Residents there waited for hours outside stores and restaurants on Sunday for basic necessities like water. Police guarded the door of one store, allowing only 10 people inside at a time.

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chairman Woody White said more supplies are on the way.

WHITE: These will need to be shipped via the air because of the flooded roads that make it impossible to get to New Hanover County. Those logistics are underway. 

Elsewhere in the state, tens of thousands were ordered to evacuated communities along the state’s steadily rising rivers. Five different rivers are all projected to spill over their banks.

And South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster warned on Sunday… 

MCMASTER: As you know those rivers in North Carolina that have received heavy rainfall are coming our way, as are our own rivers, which are gathering water now. 

Flooding in North Carolina may end up the most destructive in the state’s history.

Many crowded into shelters will return home to find properties destroyed. But some are trying to keep everything in perspective. For Cathy Yolanda that is an eternal perspective. She led the shelter in New Bern in song Sunday…

YOLANDA (singing): … and I know He watches over me. Come on New Bernians! 

The center of the storm has pushed into the Appalachian Mountains, and is expected to track to the northeast.

Typhoon Mangkhut pounds Southeastern Asia » AUDIO: [Sound of Mangkhut]

Meanwhile in Southeastern Asia… 

AUDIO: [Sound of Mangkhut]

Typhoon Mangkhut barreled into southern China on Sunday, killing two people after killing at least 64 people in the Philippines. Mangkut made landfall there on Saturday, packing sustained winds of nearly 130 miles per hour. The storm caused massive destruction and triggered floods and landslides.

In southern China’s Guangdong province, more than 2.4 million people had been evacuated by Sunday evening as Mangkut threatened to be the strongest typhoon to hit the region in nearly two decades.

Kavanaugh accuser goes public » A California woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were in high school has come forward.

51-year-old Christine Blasey Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk”— corralled her at a party in the early 1980s. She says Kavanaugh groped her and tried to remove her clothing.

Kavanaugh—responding through the White House—said, quote—“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein, referred the matter to the FBI last week, handing over a letter Ford wrote earlier in the summer detailing her claims. But the bureau reportedly does not plan to investigate the allegation.

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy was one of several Republicans who criticized Feinstein’s handling of the letter.

KENNEDY: I sit on Judiciary Committee. They’ve had this stuff for three months. If they were serious about it, they should have told us about it. 

Some Democrats on the committee have also questioned why Feinstein did not disclose the letter.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley still plans to move ahead with a Thursday vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

Progress in opioid crisis » Good news for the fight against ongoing opioid epidemic in America.

A new federal survey shows the number of new users of heroin decreased from 170,000 in 2016 to 81,000 in 2017. But experts say that one-year drop that would need to be sustained for years to make a difference in fatal overdoses.

The survey also reveals that fewer Americans are misusing or addicted to prescription opioid painkillers. And more people are getting treatment for heroin and opioid addiction.

Border patrol supervisor arrested » Police arrested a U.S. Border Patrol supervisor in Texas on Sunday, charging him with four counts of murder among other charges. Prosecutors say they consider 35-year-old Juan David Ortiz to be a serial killer. He’s accused of killing four people believed to be prostitutes and of trying to kill a fifth person who got away. Police believe Ortiz acted alone.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the lawsuit that could upend decades of affirmative action. That’s next on Legal Docket. Plus, Andrée Seu Peterson on living faithfully today. This is The World and Everything in It.

(Ken Blevins/The Star-News via AP) A man paddles through the neighborhood as Hurricane Florence leaves a trail of flooded roads, broken trees and downed power lines across Leland, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. 

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