The Roar

Hurricane Florence Dumps a Deluge of Rain in the Carolinas

Hurricane Florence roared ashore near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at 7:15 a.m. e.s.t. on Sept. 14, as a Category 1 hurricane.

Hurricane Florence began as a tropical wave off Africa. On Aug 31, Florence became a tropical depression near the Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm moved west at a very slow pace while it’s intensity fluctuated back in forth.

Around Sep. 4, Hurricane Florence started to rapidly intensify because of the warm ocean temperatures. The storm became a Category 4 Hurricane. Over the next couple days, wind shear caused Florence to weaken back to a Tropical Storm.

One by one, states across the east coast declared states of emergency from Sep. 7 to Sep. 12. The states Included North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, The District of Columbia, and Georgia.

On Sep. 10, Hurricane Florence started to rapidly intensify again because of the warm ocean temperatures and less wind shear. At its peak strength, Hurricane Florence was a Category 4 Hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph and a pressure of 939 millibars.

Soon after Florence reached its peak strength, Florence underwent an eyewall replacement cycle which weakened the storm. After that, the storm regained some of its strength. As the storm got closer wind shear started to weaken Florence, in one-day Florence weakened from a Category 4 to a Category 2 hurricane.

At the time of landfall, Florence was a Category 1 hurricane, and it had estimated maximum winds of 90 mph with the pressure estimated to be 958 millibars. By 5:00 p.m. on Sep. 14, Florence had been downgraded to a Tropical Storm.

Even though Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina was the point at which the storm made landfall, other communities were impacted by the storm. Though the storm was only a Category 1 when it made landfall, the storm surge and heavy rains were the main concerns for the Carolinas. Some of the hardest hit areas included Wilmington and New Bend, North Carolina.

Since the storm moved slowly while dumping rain like Hurricane Harvey did in Texas last year, Wilmington became an island by the flooding, isolating itself from the outside world. According to CNN, Wilmington got 26.58 inches of rain. A total of at least 42 people have died because of direct and indirect effects of Hurricane Florence.

“A lot of people had lost everything. They had to be evacuated so quickly that they didn’t have time to take anything,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, according to CBS.

The historic amount of rain was mainly concentrated to both North and South Carolina. At its worst, Interstate 95, the which connects Miami to New York was closed in sections of North and South Carolina because of flooding. “Disasters like this are more common than I think anyone gives them credit for, and people should prepare for them more rather than be just acting all shocked when it does,” said senior Jack Dyson.

On Sep. 17, Florence then a Tropical Depression, moved up north to the northeast. The weakening storm spawned a total of six tornadoes near the Richmond, Virginia area. An EF-2 tornado killed one person in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

The danger from the flooding did not stop when Florence moved out of the Carolinas. In total, Florence dumped around 50 inches of rain in the Carolinas. North Carolina alone got eight trillion gallons of water alone from Florence, according to Vox.

According to the National Weather Service, the historic flooding had a 0.1 percent chance of occurring, this is also known as a 1,000-year event.

The floodwaters in the Carolinas have inundated farms, which is creating more hazards for people trying to recover. Some of the toxins in the water include animal and human waste and coal ash. In some places, the water is rising as it makes its way back to the ocean.

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