Michael Jordan makes two enormous donations to Hurricane Florence victims

Trump pledges support for storm-battered N Carolina

That exceeds poultry losses two years ago in Hurricane Matthew, it said.

"Is this your boat?" the president asked the homeowner, and when the owner said no, Trump reportedly smiled and replied, "At least you got a nice boat out of the deal".

Trump's peppy mood in the face of, well, a disaster wasn't just a one-off. Ever since the response to Hurricane Katrina crippled George W. Bush's administration, politicians are aware of the big stakes involved when a big storm sweeps ashore.

He was accompanied by the homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen; the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) chief, Brock Long; Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina; and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott of SC.

Cars sit abandoned on a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Lillington, N.C.

President Trump has arrived in flood-soaked North Carolina, where under sunny skies, he's getting a firsthand look at the devastation that has killed dozens of people and displaced many thousands from their homes across the Southeast.

Donald Trump has promised that North and SC will receive strong federal support as they recover from the devastation of Hurricane Florence, whose floodwaters continue to threaten the region.

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Cooper said the storm has caused 27 deaths.

A wall of concrete barriers and plastic sheets is being built along US Highway 501 to save the main road into Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, from going underwater.

During the trip, Trump also visited a church that was distributing meals to the city's residents.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said his state took a "gut punch" from Florence, which made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (one meter) of rain.

Trump, who enjoys the adulation from friendly rally audiences, has appeared more ill at ease in public in his role as consoler-in-chief and has struggled at times to show empathy during moments of national tragedy.

In the case of Florence, warmer sea temperatures and the amount of available moisture in the air may have increased rainfall by as much as 50 percent in the hardest-hit areas, according to a study by researchers at Stony Brook University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. But critics quickly dubbed it inappropriate for the grim crisis at hand. Four days later, he returned - and urged people at a Houston shelter to "have a good time".

The likelihood of more massive rainfalls also should raise red flags for both coastal and inland communities and get them to rethink plans for storm-related inundation, experts said.

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