Evacuations Continue In The Carolinas As Rivers Keep Rising

LUMBERTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 20:  Flood waters are seen surrounding homes after heavy rains from Hurricane Florence on September 20, 2018 in Lumberton, North Carolina. Residents have begun cleaning up in North Carolina as the flooding has begun to subside.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LUMBERTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 20: Flood waters are seen surrounding homes after heavy rains from Hurricane Florence on September 20, 2018 in Lumberton, North Carolina. Residents have begun cleaning up in North Carolina ... LUMBERTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 20: Flood waters are seen surrounding homes after heavy rains from Hurricane Florence on September 20, 2018 in Lumberton, North Carolina. Residents have begun cleaning up in North Carolina as the flooding has begun to subside. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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BLADENBORO, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence is by no means done with the Carolinas, where some rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told to plan to leave their homes on Monday before rivers reach their crest.

About 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, were alerted to be prepared to evacuate potential flood zones ahead of a “record event” of up to 10 feet (3 meters) of flooding, which is expected to begin Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said.

The county’s emergency management director, Sam Hodge, said in a video message posted online that authorities are closely watching river gauges, and law enforcement would be going door to door in any threatened areas.

“From boots on the ground to technology that we have, we are trying to be able to get the message out,” Hodge said, warning people not to wait for an official evacuation order if they begin to feel unsafe.

In North Carolina, five river gauges still showed major flood stage levels and five others were at moderate flood stage, according to the National Weather Service. The Cape Fear River was expected to crest and remain at flood stage through the early part of the week, and parts of Interstate 40 are expected to remain underwater for another week or more.

While hundreds of smaller roads remain impassable, there was some good news: Interstate 95 was reopened to all traffic Sunday night for the first time since the floods, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced.

Floodwaters already receding on one stretch of Interstate 40 left thousands of rotting fish on the pavement for firefighters to clean up. Video showed firefighters blasting the dead fish off the highway with a fire hose in Pender County in eastern North Carolina. The local fire department posted online: “We can add ‘washing fish off of the interstate’ to the long list of interesting things firefighters get to experience.”

North Carolina Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said major flooding is continuing in eastern counties along the Black, Lumber, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers.

“Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina,” Cooper said in a statement Sunday evening. He added that crews conducted about 350 rescues over the weekend and that travel remains treacherous in the southeastern area of his state. But he said National Guard members would be shifting next to more door-to-door and air search wellness checks on people in still-flooded areas.

The storm has claimed at least 43 lives since slamming into the coast Sept. 14.

In Washington, lawmakers are considering almost $1.7 billion in new money for disaster relief and recovery, even as they face a deadline this week to fund the government before the Oct. 1 start of the new budget year.

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said the money would be available as grants to states to help rebuild housing and public works, as well as assist businesses as they recover. GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey called it “a first round” and said lawmakers are ready to act quickly if the federal disaster relief agency also needs more money.

An economic research firm estimated that Florence has caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output, which would make it one of the 10 costliest U.S. hurricanes. The worst disaster, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, cost $192.2 billion in today’s dollars, while last year’s Hurricane Harvey cost $133.5 billion. Moody’s Analytics offered a preliminary estimate that Florence has caused $40 billion in damage and $4 billion in lost economic output.

In other developments, at least three wild horse herds survived Florence on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but caretakers were still trying to account for one herd living on a hard-hit barrier island, the News & Observer reported Sunday. Staff members are planning to make trips to the island this week to check on the Shackleford Banks herd.

North Carolina environmental officials also said they’re closely monitoring two sites where Florence’s floodwaters have inundated coal ash sites.

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  1. Avatar for paulw paulw says:

    And meanwhile the executive branch is too busy with scandals to pay attention to running the government. We will be really lucky if this is the only major hurricane in the US this season

  2. I’m in Myrtle Beach, which is Horry County, South Carolina. I’m lucky in that my house is located on high ground and haven’t had any problems. The rains have stopped, but we’re downstream of the watershed in NC and SC. So when that flooding dissipates, the water will be coming down to Charleston, Georgetown and Horry County, where I am.

    Meanwhile, another storm system is predicted to come in Tuesday evening.
    The entire school district will be closed for the upcoming week, making three weeks straight. Here’s a pic of a friend’s house and what it’s like in Conway.

    We had historic flooding in 2015, then Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Both were considered 500 year or 1,000 year events. This is much worse.

  3. The basic climate change equation for big storms is as straightforward as it gets: Warmer tropical seas → warmer and wetter air above them → conversion of extra heat energy into rotational energy (cyclone dynamics) → bigger and wetter hurricanes.

    Hurricanes like Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Florence will become more common; they will also intrude further north. That is a prediction that will hold up all too well I’m afraid: 100-year storms yearly, 500 or 1,000-year storms every decade including New England.

    NB: While sea-rise and damaging storms will be more spectacular they won’t be the worst humanitarian catastrophes by far IMHO: that I believe will involve increasing agricultural failures.

  4. The modern Republican Party and its “President”, Donald Trump, have been violently anti-science and have claimed that human-caused climate change is a “hoax”, possibly created by the Chinese. This was demonstrated in spades by the Republican North Carolina State Legislature who in 2012 actually passed HB 819, a bill, which legislates state and local agencies that develop coastal policies to ignore scientific models showing an acceleration in the rise of sea levels. The driving force for this, other than the vast stupidity of the Republican Party itself was by NC-20, an nonprofit governmental group stacked with coastal development and real estate interests, and the Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which have ties to the fossil fuel industry. Other idiot - full groups pushing for this legislation include the Friends of Forestry Political Action Committee, the Heartland Institute, an ultraconservative “think tank”, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Koch Industries, who gave money to several North Carolina legislators.

    It reminds me of the famous order by King Canute of Denmark that the tides should stop. I wish I could ask these legislators now how it is going with Hurricane Florence and the flooding of the cities.

  5. Avatar for paulw paulw says:

    I have read (don’t know if it’s true) that Canute was actually rebuking his advisors, who were pushing him to issue various edicts to do things they wanted. By making it clear that there were limits to the king’s power, he was (according to this version) essentially telling them to back off and stop trying to get him to write checks his nobles wouldn’t cash.

    If that version is true, it’s certainly not a history the GOP has learned from.

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