CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY/AP) - Authorities confirmed this week two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in South Carolina. So far, 37 people have died as a result of Florence with 26 of those deaths in North Carolina, ten in South Carolina, and one in Virginia.
Authorities in Virginia said one person was dead after an apparent tornado, the first fatality attributed to Florence not in the Carolinas.
Horry County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Brooke Holden said a sheriff's office van was carrying two detainees and two deputies from Conway to Darlington on Tuesday night when it was overtaken by flood waters.
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Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson tells The Associated Press that 45-year-old Windy Wenton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green were being transported by a Horry County Sheriff's Office van between Nichols and Mullins on Tuesday night when the van was swept away by rising waters.
Two deputies were rescued from the top of the van, and Horry County officials say they tried to get the women out. Richardson says the patients' bodies were being recovered Wednesday morning.
Richardson says the incident happened near the Little Pee Dee River, which is one of the bodies of water officials are monitoring for intense flooding following Florence.
The incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division.
Forecasters predict some rivers in the northeastern area of the state might not reach their highest levels until later this week or next week.
North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of Hurricane Florence evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.
Wilmington is still mostly an island surrounded by floodwaters, and people are waiting for hours for handouts of necessities like food.
Gov. Roy Cooper told a news conference Tuesday is was hard for residents to leave home, and it's even harder for them to wait to go back. But Cooper says many roads are dangerous and new hazards are possible as floodwaters fall.
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Officials say about 10,000 people are in shelters, and a new one is opening in one hard-hit county.
Aides say President Donald Trump will visit North Carolina on Wednesday to see the damage. He's already tweeted that any criticism of the government response is a "total lie."