At least 44 people have died since Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas more than a week ago, and though the catastrophic rains have finally ceased, flooding continues to hit North Carolina especially hard.
The Cape Fear River will crest this wkd. while the Lumber River will crest again. The Neuse will rise until Mon. Additionally, new areas are flooding with little warning. Due to this, travel isn’t recommended south of US 64. See flood levels https://t.co/xPLtIKVMoY #FlorenceNC pic.twitter.com/ATypLvVZTm
— NCDOT (@NCDOT) September 21, 2018
As some rivers continue to rise, tens of thousands remain without power, and many roads are still submerged or covered in debris. "I know we sound redundant, but it bears repeating," tweeted South Carolina's emergency management department. "Turn around, don't drown!"
Floodwaters have receded from Interstate 40, leaving behind a glut of dead fish. See firefighters hosing fish off the blacktop below. Bonnie Kristian
— USA TODAY Video (@usatodayvideo) September 23, 2018
Hurricane Florence continued to dump rain on North Carolina for days after it made landfall last week, leading to devastating flooding across much of the state. Wilmington, a coastal city that was transformed into an island due to surrounding floodwaters, has become increasingly isolated as flooding fills the I-40 highway. Aerial footage captured by USA Today shows the highway looking more like a river, completely unrecognizable beneath record-breaking floodwaters.
At least 37 people have died as a result of the hurricane, reports The Associated Press. Emergency responders are working to enter the hard-hit areas to offer relief, but it's challenging when roads are completely blocked off. Watch the video below to see just how severe the flooding remains, via USA Today. Summer Meza
When Florence's still-rising floodwaters finally subside, the coastal Carolina regions that have suffered the worst of the storm's wrath will begin to rebuild. But for many, the question remains: With what money?
Only about 10 percent of housing units have flood insurance in many of the areas Florence drenched, and homeowners expecting to rely on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) help to rebuild will be sorely disappointed. While a good flood insurance policy will provide several hundred thousand dollars to restore a house and replace possessions, FEMA flood grants cover, at most, $33,000. Most payouts come in below $10,000.
Thus, for "the insurance industry in general, Florence looks like ... a manageable event that will hurt earnings to some degree but won't affect capital," The Wall Street Journal reports. Because there are so few flood insurance policies to pay out, homeowners rather than their insurers will take on the financial brunt of the storm's destruction. Accordingly, share prices for major insurers recovered swiftly after a few days' dip as Florence made landfall.
Flood insurance is distinct from regular homeowner's insurance. It must be purchased separately from either private carriers or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a FEMA subsidiary, a month before flood damage occurs to receive a payout. The NFIP, which now operates at a loss, offers below-market insurance rates for construction in flood-prone areas, arguably subsidizing dangerous construction. Bonnie Kristian
At least 17 people have died in weather-related incidents since Florence, now a tropical depression, made landfall Friday in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane.
Severe flooding continues in North and South Carolina, with some areas receiving more than 30 inches of rain over the last few days. Several roads in Wilmington are underwater, and 760,000 people are without power across North Carolina. A number of rivers are expected to crest on Sunday and Monday in North Carolina, and Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said the "risk to life is rising with the angry water." Since Friday, hundreds of people have been rescued from flooded homes in North and South Carolina. Catherine Garcia
"It may be hard to believe," the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeted Saturday, "but there's MUCH more rain to come" from Tropical Storm Florence. "Parts of the Carolinas will see more than 15 inches of additional rain in the next couple of days," the NWS post added.
Though the storm's winds have slowed — it was downgraded from hurricane status Friday afternoon — its deluge continues. And because Florence is all but at a standstill as of midday Saturday, its torrential rains continue to drench areas of North and South Carolina already dealing with serious flood risks.
North Carolina specifically is forecast to get up to 9.6 trillion gallons of rain, which could cover the entire state to a depth of 10 inches.
Dangerous flash floods may continue through Monday, affecting areas throughout North Carolina, much of South Carolina, and parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and even Pennsylvania. "The same places have seen all of this water, and the same places will see more water," said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers Saturday.
#Florence is far from done.
Life-threatening, catastrophic FLASH FLOODING likely through early next week in the areas highlighted here. LANDSLIDES are also possible in the higher terrain of the southern and central Appalachians.https://t.co/VyWINDk3xP for the latest, local info. pic.twitter.com/flZGqEsbS6
— NWS (@NWS) September 15, 2018
Hurricane Florence, now a slow-moving Category 1 storm that is bringing heavy rain to the Carolinas, is expected to make landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina, close to midday on Friday, Reuters reports.
The winds, while still strong, have weakened, but water is a major concern, and some areas could see 40 inches of rain. Severe flooding has already been reported in several towns, including New Bern, North Carolina, where the local emergency manager said first responders have had to make several water rescues. In Morehead, North Carolina, a 10-foot storm surge was reported Thursday night, and life-threatening storm surges are likely occurring in the eastern part of the state, The Weather Channel reports.
More than 160,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina are without power, and 12,000 people are staying in 126 evacuation shelters across the state, officials said. At 1 a.m. ET, the storm was 45 miles east of Wilmington, moving northeastward at 6 miles per hour. Catherine Garcia
Hurricane Florence is closing in. The Category 2 storm began to hit the southeastern coastline Thursday, as the hurricane's outer rain bands crept close enough to affect North and South Carolina's outermost towns.
The storm weakened slightly overnight, but forecasters still expect top sustained winds of 105 miles per hour and heavy rains that could bring catastrophic damage. Power outages have already begun, reports The Associated Press, with about 12,000 outages along the North Carolina coast. Power companies predict outages for up to 3 million customers.
Florence is still about 100 miles off the coast, and is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday. The strong winds are visible from Frying Pan Tower, an old lighthouse about 35 miles from the coast of North Carolina that is livestreaming a view of the incoming storm.
Officials are warning that Florence could bring historic and life-threatening devastation. "This storm is a monster," said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D). "It's big and it's vicious." The last open route for residents who have not yet evacuated North Carolina's Hatteras Island is now closed, while other towns reported completing evacuations. Repair crews said it could be several days before they enter the area to evaluate recovery needs. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza
On Monday, state and local officials in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia ordered about 1.5 million residents to evacuate coastal areas as Hurricane Florence strengthened to a Category 4 storm, expected to make landfall Thursday somewhere close to the border between North and South Carolina. Florence could cause a "life-threatening storm surge" along the coast and "life-threatening freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall" up to 100 miles inland, the National Hurricane Center warns. The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland have declared states of emergency.
Hurricane #Florence is not just a threat to the coast. Very heavy, prolonged rainfall is expected over a large portion of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic. Here is the latest 7 day rainfall forecast from @NWSWPC. pic.twitter.com/HVMCOMDQIr
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 10, 2018
Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, warned Monday that on top of the dangerous winds, Florence looks like it will stall over the Carolinas, dumping up to a foot of rain far inland and causing power outages, mudslides, and other hazards. "The storm's potential path also includes half a dozen nuclear power plants, pits holding coal-ash and other industrial waste, and numerous hog farms that store animal waste in massive open-air lagoons," The Associated Press reports.
"We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of state and local officials," President Trump tweeted Monday evening. "The federal government is closely monitoring and ready to assist."
#Florence is now a powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. #GOESEast captured this close-up of the storm's eye as it continues tracking toward the southeastern U.S. Latest: https://t.co/vziaU0pOhE pic.twitter.com/SvHPKYGZsC
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) September 10, 2018
Two other named hurricanes, Isaac and Helene, have already formed in the Atlantic, though neither is forecast to cause much damage, and in the Pacific, Hurricane Olivia is heading toward Hawaii, hitting late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Peter Weber