Danger may still be lurking in Florence’s floodwaters even after the storm is over

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Even after Florence passes, the hazards from the hurricane won’t be over: Lingering floodwaters can pose a potential risk to anyone exposed to them.

“The water is not going to be safe, both from chemical and biological contamination. After a disaster, we tend to see a lot of skin infections and skin rashes,” said Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University.

There can also be waterborne illnesses, ranging from inconvenient but fairly harmless gastrointestinal ones, such as norovirus, to rarer, more serious bacteria, such as vibrio, a potentially deadly micro-organism.

And while North Carolina is susceptible to all of these usual threats that breed in waters left behind by a major storm, the state is also vulnerable to an additional unique — and unpleasant — set of problems.

As a top producer of hogs, North Carolina faces the distinct possibility of getting inundated with nasty pollutants through hog feces that overflow into Florence’s floodwaters.