After Hurricane Florence battered the east coast for nearly a week, the city of Wilmington on the coast of North Carolina is not out of the clear. The massive drop-off of rain pushed rivers to their flood stage. The cresting of rivers near and surrounding the coast, resulted in flash flood advisories as far north as New York and Boston.
The strongest parts of the storm were destined to battle both North Carolina and South Carolina. In the aftermath, record rainfall was recorded, and residents struggled to cope as tens of thousands of homes sustained damage from the severe weather.
Wilmington, North Carolina is considered a “tourism hotspot” in the state. Following the passing of the storm, many people that make up the population lined up to receive free food, water and tarps as the city had virtually been turned into an island and cut off from the rest of the state due to floodwaters. Authorities say some of the stranded were rescued by air and water, while others who chose to evacuate stay blocked from their own home with no end in sight.
Following gray clouds brought by Florence, blue skies broke free on that following Monday. Damaging sounds of wind and rain were soon replaced with the chopping of helicopters, clean-up crews, and the sound of flowing water as it found its way to rivers and streams.
Hurricane Florence has claimed 34 lives, and is feared to claim more as flooding becomes a problem.
“We encourage people to not cross any bodies of water because that is what’s getting people injured and killed,” said Scott Dean, who is in control of a search-and-rescue task traveling from Miami. The team saved an elderly man from the roof of his car minutes before rushing water would have swept him away.
Residents in the affected counties face days of healing, as they journey back home to recollect items of their past lives. One resident, Brian Scandalito, survived through the storm in a storage shed on packaged ham, bag of tortillas, and a bottle of water.
“I think I’d like to move to Montana,” said Scandalito as he surveyed the area on his way to a shelter.
The mayor of Lake Waccamaw, a town located to the West of Wilmington, was urgently searching for air conditioners for an assisted living facility with over 50 residents because the weather following the storm was, “getting hot.” A local power plant operated by Duke Energy was forced to declare an “unusual event” due to inaccessibility because of flooding. In other parts of Wilmington, life continued to go on. Fast food restaurants were open, and traffic flowed in its normal pattern.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina and surrounding areas, rescues were conducted after unforeseen flooding and power was knocked out for miles around. As far as Dillon, South Carolina, many rescues were completed in the span of a night as waters conquered small towns and rural areas. Many people are facing displacement as a product of the storm’s slow-moving assault.