• (NEW YORK) -- As floodwaters begin to recede in North Carolina, officials and experts are beginning to count the cost of Hurricane Matthew. Early estimates of property damage and lost business are in the billions of dollars for a storm that was not forecast to focus on the state.The storm passed over North Carolina just over a week ago and left at least 26 people dead and more than 2,100 people still in shelters as a result of floods, according to state officials."The effects of Hurricane Matthew continue to have a destructive impact 12 days later," North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said in a press conference Saturday. "There are still many difficult days ahead, but our top priority will continue to be helping people in the hardest hit areas who are dealing with this flooding.”The storm damaged about $1.5 billion in property, including homes, businesses and government buildings, according to officials with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. The state deployed aerial drones for the first time to see above the flooded areas and assess the damage.But that figure doesn’t include other costs to the state’s economy, including losses that businesses suffered when they were forced to close and when consumers were not spending because they were forced to hunker down or evacuate -- lost economic output."Entire towns have been destroyed with record flooding from Hurricane Matthew, meaning many businesses and employees have been directly impacted," McCrory said in a statement on Thursday, when he announced Disaster Unemployment Assistance for people in 20 counties.Preliminary projections from Moody’s Analytics as of Oct. 10 say the storm caused between $4 billion and $5 billion in lost economic output across the affected states, according Laura Ratz, an economist covering the region. North Carolina accounts for about half of the estimated economic output loss, Ratz told ABC News.These numbers could go up.The storm was initially expected to have a relatively minor effect on the Tarheel state, forecast to curl away and towards the ocean just before fully reaching North Carolina.However, forecasts were off and the storm turned inland, hitting eastern North Carolina and causing much more damage than expected.A week out, many areas are still inundated with flood waters that are making their way through the state’s river system from the piedmont region of central North Carolina across state’s coastal plain and on to the ocean.In some areas, roads remain closed and business remains disrupted.The storm had resulted in historic insurance claims and difficulty in processing the claims because of conditions, Stuart Lindley, president of Discovery Insurance in Kinston, North Carolina, told ABC News."We’ve had recorded flooded vehicles and on top of that, seven of my adjusters were unable to get to work until today because of road flooding," Lindley said by phone Monday morning. "We didn’t have a full staff to even take claims."And the problem wasn’t limited to his industry, he said.Even in areas that are above the floodplain the storm’s effects were being felt, Lindley said."Drain lines were backed up because they couldn’t go into the river, which caused flooding in several basements of downtown buildings," he said. "As a result several restaurants were closed for several days.”The Neuse River, which runs through the town, crested on Saturday morning, leaving much of the city submerged, according to ABC News’ affiliate WTVD.Despite the closures, some business owners are going to extraordinary lengths to stay open.Donnie Paderick and Misty Paderick, along with their pet goats and pig, have been living out of the gift shop that they own after road closures have cut-off access to their home, according to ABC News’ affiliate in the area, WCTI."We knew the road would be blocked, so we brought all of our supplies to the store and we prepared to camp out,"Donnie P
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Mass.) -- A Massachusetts woman is lucky to be alive after Arlington police say she accidentally hit the accelerator while backing up near Spy Pond in Arlington around 1:02 p.m. Friday, sending her Ford Edge straight through a fence and plunging about 8 feet into frigid waters.Three good Samaritans helped rescue the 68-year-old woman as she was trapped inside pounding on the SUV’s passenger-side window.One of the quick-thinking bystanders wasted no time swimming out to the car but just as he opened the door to help the woman out, the vehicle took on more water and submerged. Numerous items from the car floated to the surface of the pond as two more rescuers jumped in the water.Dan Frazier, the second man in the video to leap into action, told ABC News he was on a nearby bike trail with his wife and two friends when they heard the tires screech and the sound of a collision.Frazier said he turned down the hill about 10 yards away, heard a splash and saw the vehicle enter the water."By the time I got there I turned around quickly and said to the rest of the people in my party, 'There’s a car that went in the water and somebody is in it,'" he recalled of the harrowing experience.He rushed down to the area where the car went in, tossed aside his bike, took off his outer layer of clothes and jumped in the water. As Frazier swam toward the sinking car, he saw one man pounding on the passenger window in an attempt to free the woman, when she eventually reaches the surface gasping for air."I could see that she couldn't swim and she was an older woman and she was struggling at the surface of the water, almost going down again," Frazier said."By the time I got to her she had this terror, frantic look in her eyes and I knew right away she couldn't swim," he added. "I grabbed what looked like some kind of flotation device -- it was a cushion that had handles on it. I just flung the handles toward her."After a few attempts, the woman was able to reach out and grab on to the safety device.Frazier said she was "floating on the surface with her head up," which allowed him to pull her close to shore where another man helped lift the woman, who has not yet been publicly identified.Thinking back on the timing of the events that day, Frazier said, "To me there are no coincidences in the way this all happened the way that it did ... We just saw this woman struggling and, I mean, life is precious and you know every life has worth and we were just very glad that the timing was what it was and we were able to help her in this really urgent time of need."The crash was an accident and the driver was not impaired in any way, police say. The woman is in the hospital recovering from mild hypothermia.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(HILLSBOROUGH, N.C.) -- Police in Hillsborough, North Carolina, are investigating the suspected firebombing and vandalism of a Republican Party office overnight, local officials said.It appears that a bottle filled with flammable substance was thrown through a front window of the Orange County GOP offices, according to a statement from the Hillsborough government. The substance ignited inside the office, burning some furniture and damaging the building's interior before going out, the statement said.An adjacent building was also vandalized with graffiti including a swastika and the words "Nazi Republicans leave town or else," which was discovered and reported this morning by another business owner, the statement said.No damage estimates are available yet, and Hillsborough police are investigating along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the statement said.
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  • Ian MacNicol/Getty Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- An arrest has been made in the shooting death of U.S. Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay's teenage daughter.
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  • Andrew Burton/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- People who think police shootings are becoming a national epidemic "have no idea" what they're talking about because there currently is no federal data to indicate whether that's really the case, FBI Director James Comey said Sunday.He made the stark comments at the International Chiefs of Police Conference in San Diego, speaking before thousands of law enforcement officials from across the United States and overseas.While Comey acknowledged it's been a "uniquely difficult time in American law enforcement," he said the broad notion that police are "violent and racist and unfair" is an ill-informed notion.Fueled by images and videos of police encounters posted online, "good people" have come to believe that "biased police are killing at epidemic rates," with black men and women the overwhelming victims.Most recently, violent protests broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina, after police fatally shot a black man who authorities said appeared to have a gun. Parts of the incident were captured on cell phone video and police dash-cam video."Each video becomes further proof of an epidemic nationwide of police brutality," Comey said.But "however good their hearts," they have "no idea of whether the number of black people ... being shot by police is up, down or sideways" in recent years, Comey insisted. "They have no idea of these things because we [in federal government] have no idea of these things."He noted that "in the absence of information we have anecdotes," and a "small group of videos serves as an epidemic."This narrative has "real costs" -- it is making it harder for police to do their jobs and protect the communities they have sworn to protect, and it is making it harder for police departments to recruit new officers.He said Americans across the country will be "deeply, deeply sorry" if people stop choosing to serve the country through law enforcement.While "there are bad cops," such bad apples exist in all industries, he added."The truth is this: Police officers are overwhelmingly good people," and they took dangerous jobs because they want to help people, Comey said.So to close the growing chasm between police and certain communities, the country needs to have an informed debate about policing based on reliable information."If we do those things and if we do them well, we will save lives," he said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(STORRS, Conn.) -- A 19-year-old University of Connecticut student died after she was run over by a campus emergency fire vehicle early Sunday morning.
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