An update and overview of Hurricane Florence's impact on the eastern seaboard. The storm has left a hefty amount of damage in its wake.
On Friday, September 14th at 7:15 am, local time, Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.
At one-point Hurricane Florence was a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, the scale for quantifying hurricane size and strength. Hurricane Florence reached Category 5 status a couple days before making landfall. As it approached the eastern seaboard, however, it weakened and downgraded all the way to a Category 2 by Friday morning.
After making landfall, Florence began moving north-northwest, and weakened even further. Technically it’s now a Tropical Storm.
Despite it’s demoted status, Florence is still releasing rains well above the average for the region. Numerous rivers in the area were experiencing flooding before Florence made landfall, and now they’re well beyond their banks. Cities in the area were already evacuated before Friday morning.
Although Florence is moving northward, experts are expecting to see it regain strength by Wednesday and to deposit even more precipitation in western North Carolina and southeast Virginia.
Officials are speculating that Florence could “re-intensify as it transitions to an extratropical cyclone.” An extratropical cyclone is another name given to the heavy storms that come with a low-pressure system. Extratropical cyclones can also be blizzards and the like.
With hurricanes there are rain-bands, emanating out from the eye of the hurricanes. Tropical storms and extratropical cyclones also have rain-bands, though not as intense as those found in hurricanes.
As Florence weakens and moves over the North Carolina-Virginia region, there is still the potential for heavy rainfall. This rainfall can result in landslides, more flooding, and high winds.
Until the storm subsides, the true extent of the damage is unknown.
Rescuers and government officials have already detailed massive flooding in the affected areas. The city of Wilmington, apparently, has been cut off due to flooding.
Homes being washed away is a common report. The total count of homes is yet undetermined.
Other areas of the South and North Carolina coasts equipped with levees have issued breach warnings. The levees have had to deal with above-average rainfall for weeks leading up to Friday morning’s landfall. Now with the surge in rainfall, some are skeptical of the levees continued functioning.
As of this writing there have been no reports of any levees or dams failing in the area.
Other cities, such as Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, reported only a power outage two, as well as some debris to wash up on the shore. Cities to the south of the hurricane experienced high winds and significantly less rain. This is due in part of the spin of the hurricane. As they’re on the southside, Florence has already dumped all the water to the north. All that’s left by the time it reaches the southern edge is just wind.
Unfortunately, the true cost of the storms has been to be determined as rains continue to pound the areas north of Florence and rescue efforts are still ongoing.
So far there have been eighteen confirmed deaths due to flooding and hurricane related accidents.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and residents affected by Hurricane Florence.
9/20/2018 Update- There are now 32 confirmed deaths linked to Hurricane Florence