Sampling waterways in eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew showed a temporary increase in concentrations of some bacteria and pollutants in spots, according to a 2017 report from the state's Department of Environmental Quality.
The stretch of the Cape Fear River winding through this county roughly 85 miles (135 kilometers) from the coast was expected to crest Tuesday at 62 feet (19 meters) - 27 feet (8 meters) over its flood stage.
The President then met with local and state officials, SC senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and Congressman Tom Rice at the Horry County Emergency Operations Center, assuring them that Washington is behind the county and will provide federal help.
With muddy river water still washing over entire communities on Friday, eight days after Hurricane Florence slammed into land with almost 3 feet of rain, new evacuation orders forced residents to flee to higher ground amid a sprawling disaster that's beginning to feel like it will never end.
Florence, which barreled into the Carolinas last week as a Category 1 storm and has since been downgraded to a tropical depression as it turned toward the northeast, has claimed at least 37 lives.
Meanwhile, about 56,000 homes and business remained without electrical power as of Friday afternoon.
The storm's death toll ticked up to 41 people on Thursday; 31 people in North Carolina alone, which entered its 13th day under a state of emergency.
Florence may have concluded its crawl over the Carolinas, but officials are warning residents not to let the fairer weather deceive them.
"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.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he knows the damage in his state will add up to billions of dollars, but said with the effects on the storm ongoing, there was no way to make a more accurate estimate. What have we been doing for two years?. "First of all, I think we're all just thankful it wasn't the monster that it was forecast as earlier in the week", he said. The administration also is working with congressional leaders on the federal disaster assistance request, Cooper's office said in a statement. One was off the coast of the Carolinas with a chance of drifting toward land.
"Our people took a gut punch", Cooper said after the president's arrival.
The reason is that climate change is warming the Arctic much more than it is heating up the Tropics, easing the pressure difference between the two, he said in an interview on Wednesday. Some areas could stay underwater for weeks, forecasters warned.
Professional disaster recovery services work to cleanup storm damages at the New Bern Grande Marina Yacht Club in New Bern, N.C., September 21, 2018.