Five Years Later: Remembering Hurricane Florence

Well today we’re going to turn back five years for a look at a weather impact that is still fresh in the minds of many in eastern North and South Carolina. I’m talking with Corey Davis from the State Climate Office of North Carolina, and of course I am talking about Hurricane Florence, Anybody that was in the Carolinas when Florence made that path through, certainly remembers all that rain.

Yeah, Mike, you know, this is the five-year anniversary of the storm’s landfall. But Florence was with us for far longer than just that one day. This was an event where the storm was moving so slowly, sometimes just two to three miles per hour, that it sat over us for days. We had rain that lasted four to five days, and even though it wasn’t that strong of a wind event, one thing that we’ve heard from people looking back five years is that just the persistence of that wind blowing for four or five days in a row was really exhausting not only for them, but also for their homes for the structures for their crops. So looking back at Florence, we’re remembering both how long-lasting that event was, and also how long-lasting some of the impacts were. It took almost a month for some of the rivers to drop out of flood stage. And frankly, there are areas that are still going through the recovery process with things like housing buyouts, just to try to get back to sort of a normal to where things were back before the storm.

You can still drive through parts of rural eastern North Carolina and see homes that were abandoned afterwards because of all the damage. Corey, do you remember seeing the pictures, and maybe you saw it in person, of highways underwater after Florence?

Yeah, I think that was one of the most sort of indelible images that we saw after the storm is these aerial views of interstate 40 through Pender County, Interstate 95, near Fayetteville and Lumberton that looked like rivers because you couldn’t even see that the roads or the lines on the roads totally submerged. And another thing that really stands out looking back is that the state had basically told anybody traveling from out of the state, don’t come through North Carolina, because so many of the roads were closed and under water. The Department of Transportation, in looking back at Florence, has noted there were more than 2500 roads across the state that had been closed