500,000 people still without power as tropical depression moves northeast
Photo courtesy of the dod.defense.gov | Hurricane Florence made landfall on Sept 14. Florence was downgraded from a category 4 Hurricane to a tropical depression the same day. There have been 35 recorded deaths. Officals expect more flooding to come.
Millions of people on the East Coast of the U.S. are currently being affected by Hurricane Florence.
The storm, the first major hurricane and the thrid overall of the 2018 hurricane season, caused significant panic in the U.S. Reports of intensification from tropical depression to Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 10 prompted large-scale evacuations along the coast.
Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina declared a state of emergency and issued evacuation orders on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11, including the mandatory evacuation of the low-lying areas of Virginia and South Carolina’s entire coast. The orders affecting more than 1.5 million people.
Although damage from the storm was minimal as it passed over Cape Verde and Bermuda, with only minor landslides and flooding, damage along the coast was more significant.
The record-breaking torrential rains and storm surges caused flooding before and after Florence made landfall on Friday in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. Storm surges in excess of 10 feet across coastal areas, and more than two feet of rainfall were recorded in Wilmington, N.C.
It is estimated that more than 500,000 people lost power in the Carolinas before the hurricane even made landfall. The situation worsened as the storm passed through.
By mid-morning on Sunday, rescuers had saved more than 200 people from the floodwaters, while more than 150 others still need rescue. Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a tropical depression that same day. It rapidly lost strength as it traveled into the colder waters and land near northeast.
However, officals in North Carolina still expect flooding to continue in the aftermath of the storm.
The current death toll from Hurricane Florence is at least 35, with 27 deaths in North Carolina, six in South Carolina and two in Virginia.
State governments are cooperating with the large-scale evacuation efforts, for example West Virginia, suspended construction on its highways and opened its state park campsites at a reduced rate to help evacuees.
In addition Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway all opened their campgrounds to people fleeing the hurricane free of charge.
West Virginia only recieved an estimated one to two inches of rainfall, which was much lower than the originaly projected “life-threatening and catastrophic flooding and rainfaill” by local forecasters. An estimated 1.7 million chickens were lost in North Carolina, according to poultry producer Sanderson Farms.
In the past, Xavier University and Bellarmine Chapel helped 16 people fleeing from Hurricane Katrina reach safety in Cincinnati by providing transportation and shelter.
If you would like to donate and help, the American Red Cross, Americares, Catholic Charities and a number of other organizations are accepting donations and volunteers.
By: Michael Schmeling | Guest Writer