Devastation of Hurricane Florence


Flooding from Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, N.C., on Monday. Photo Credit to the Washington Post.

Nicholas Silva, Layout Editor

Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina on Thursday September 13th as a category one hurricane. While it had been predicted to hit as a three or higher, the damage was still profound. The storm produced initial storm surges -a tsunami-like occurrence- exceeding thirteen feet.

The coastline was torn apart, and many homes along rivers or in low-lying regions of the state were flooded or utterly destroyed. In all, twenty seven people were killed in North Carolina. But the destruction did not end there. Before dissipating and arcing into the north east, Florence, now a tropical storm, hit Virginia, then dipped into South Carolina and even parts of Georgia, causing eight more deaths and vast damage.


Troops work to pull a truck that washed away on Chicken Road outside of Lumberton, N.C., on Monday. Photo credit to Eamon Queeney/The Washington Post.

In North Carolina, many neighborhoods are still submerged, and most coastal roads have been impassable since

Thursday. Two of the main Interstates, Interstate 40 and 95, are partially closed, as are almost 1,500 other roads. Due to this, many people who did not heed evacuation advisements, or even people in areas not expected to get flooded, are stranded. So far, almost 3,000 people have been rescued, along with hundreds of pets.

In a statement on Monday September 17th, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper stated that flooding was still taking lives, and that “for most parts of North Carolina, the danger is still immediate.”

However, the storm itself is not the only problem. As people are starting to pick up the pieces, environmentalists fear repercussions of the flooding. Using aerial coverage, conservationists like Rick Dove, an adviser for the Waterkeeper Alliance -an organization which seeks to identify threats to bodies of water- have noticed that toxic environments such as hog farm manure lagoons and even possibly coal deposits from power plants were affected by the flooding. Some of the receding water could be contaminated with this harmful material, and could pose a threat to the ecosystem and the population beyond the dangers and damage already raking up. Also, many storm drains and sewage systems have been overwhelmed or damaged, with wastewater regurgitating out of them, and back onto roads and surrounding land. A full assessment of environmental hazards is hindered by the flooding itself.

President Donald Trump hands out food at Temple Baptist Church, where food and other supplies are being distributed during Hurricane Florence recovery efforts. Photo Credit to CNN.

Regardless, the damage is severe, and could only get worse. President Trump has promised that the government is “ready … to do whatever we have to do to make this perfect.” He has declared that federal and military employees have been deployed to help in the recovery, and that meals are being delivered to North Carolina.

There are widespread power outages with over 300,000 people without power across North Carolina, and more other affected states. Currently, two nuclear power plants remain offline as a precaution, partially inaccessible due to flood waters. Also, hundreds if not thousands of people are spread throughout emergency shelters, displaced from homes that might no longer even exist in the wake of Hurricane Florence’s brutal assault. Storm damage could exceed $22 million according to a preliminary assessment by Moody’s Analytics. The company warns that damage may extend further than they are currently aware. At the moment, the other possible hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean have dissipated, offering more relief than had been expected.

Celebrities are donating to help flood victims, including Michael Jordan who donated $2 million.For anyone looking to help, the Red Cross is accepting donations, and the Big E is holding a fundraiser to help recovery efforts every night during the five o’clock parade.