After Florence, North Carolina grapples with floods, outages and endless water

After Florence, North Carolina grapples with floods, outages and endless water
Florence Flooding Is The Slow-Motion Train Wreck Forecasters Warned About
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — On Monday, amid a mandatory evacuation order, residents of this inland city of around 200,000 flocked to a bridge east of town to gaze at the rapidly rising Cape Fear River.

Under the first blue skies in days, they took pictures of large trees and other debris that made its way south down a wide and muddy river toward the Atlantic coast. And they were reminded of the devastating scenes less than two years ago during Hurricane Matthew, when the town was severely flooded and hundreds of residents had to be rescued from inundated buildings.

Dianna Wood, embraces her husband Lynn, as they look out over their flooded property as the Little River continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Linden, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. “Im still hopeful,” said Lynn about his home which currently has water up to the front step. “In another foot, Ill be heartbroken,” he added. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Michael Jordan donates $2 million to Florence relief efforts

I came [here] for Matthew, said Laura Walters, a lifelong Fayetteville resident, as she looked out over the raging river with her dog. Just watching it, you know, its history.

The river swallowed trees, lamp posts and a parking lot near its banks. City officials warned that still-rising water threatened some neighborhoods and businesses that seemed safe, but said the worst was nearly over and life was beginning to return to normal downtown. Businesses were re-opening and owners were removing sandbags and plywood from storefronts.

Nightmare that wont end: Storm evacuees cant return yet

Dulles Faircloth, 68, remembers his father telling stories about the Cape Fear Flood of 1945. But the deluge from Florence is unlike anything hes ever seen. He marveled at the slow-moving hurricane, calling it the storm of the century, and at the Cape Fear Rivers power.

Numerous homes and buildings in the greater Fayetteville area have already flooded. And responders conducted rescue missions throughout Sunday night, the Fayetteville Observer reported. At least 31 people have been killed by Florence, most of them in North Carolina. 

President Donald Trump boasted on Twitter: Right now, everybody is saying what a great job we are doing with Hurricane Florence — and they are 100% correct. He warned that the Democrats will soon start criticizing the government response, and this will be a total lie, but thats what they do, and everybody knows it!

The big difference between Matthew and Hurricane Florence, which slammed into the coast of North Carolina four days ago and has led to devastating inland flooding, is the speed. Meteorologists warned of a Hurricane Harvey-like one-two punch ― catastrophic damage along the coast followed by devastating inland flooding. And thats what Florence delivered.

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Hundreds of people waited in long lines for water and other essentials in Wilmington, still mostly cut off by rising water days after Hurricane Florence unleashed epic floods, and North Carolinas governor pleaded with more than 10,000 evacuees around the state not to return home yet.

Where Matthew blew through quick, dumping nearly 20 inches of rain over an already saturated landscape in less than a day and causing Cape Fear to reach 58 feet, Florence has lingered. After making landfall near Wilmington on Friday morning, it stalled as it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Over a four-day period, it dumped as much as 35 inches of rain in some areas. As of 9 p.m. Monday, the Cape Fear River was running at more than 56 feet and was forecast to crest Tuesday at 62 feet. The record of 68.9 feet was set in the famed 1945 flood.

Most scientists are careful not to attribute any single storm to our changing climate. But the scientific community — including experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — has long warned that anthropogenic climate change influences extreme weather events. The 2015 National Climate Assessment concluded that hurricane intensity and rainfall are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm. Rainfall rates near the center of hurricanes are expected to increase by an average 20 percent by the end of the century, according to the report.

Research also shows theres been a marked slowdown in hurricanes speed over both water and land, which increases the risk of heavy rain, flooding and storm surges. Moreover, a 2016 study found that climate change has caused hurricanes in the North Atlantic to migrate farther north ― a trend that is expected to continue in a warming world.

On Saturday, torrential rain triggered a mandatory evacuation for everyone within a mile of the river near Fayetteville. The citys mayor, Mitch Colvin, said people refusing to leave should notify your legal next of kin because the loss of life is very, very possible.

Despite local officials warnings, Fayetteville residents Sharon Hicks, Sally Leeman and Pat Williams opted not to evacuate their homes, which are nestled along the Cape Fear River on a cul-de-sac north of town. For the last several days, neighbors here have been working in three-hour shifts to monitor the river level. They take pictures and text one another to show how much its come up.

In a bright spot, the Lumber River appeared to be falling in hard-hit Lumberton, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) inland. Power outages in the Southeast also were down, from a high of more than 910,000 to about 310,000, nearly all in North Carolina.

Do you think were going to be OK? Hicks asked Williams Monday afternoon as the three visited in the street.

Its not that the women are taking the threat lightly, Leeman said. Its that theyve been through this before, are working together to track and share information, and are prepared to leave if the situation becomes dangerous. Leeman also didnt think shed be able to get into a shelter.

The governor said 16 rivers statewide were at major flood stage and more than 1,100 roads were closed. Emergency workers reported rescuing and evacuating more than 2,200 people and around 575 animals, he said.

With the river threatening to cut off communities east of town, Army National Guard members of the 230th Brigade Support Battalion out of Goldsboro, North Carolina, conducted a supply run Monday to an emergency operations center and shelter set up at a school. En route, the trio of 5-ton military trucks received waves from residents gathered on the bridge spanning the Cape Fear River. The trucks weaved past flooded homes and farmland.

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With help from at least two dozen police officers and firefighters stationed at the school, the National Guard made swift work of unloading pallets of water and food.

Matthew Gajdos, a public information officer for the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department in Dagsboro, Delaware, said the department has more than 40 firefighters in North Carolina to assist with rescues and the aid response. The men and women stationed in Fayetteville, he said, are assisting multiple local fire departments so that they can dry out and get some rest.

Thats the thing about this country, Gajdos said. We may disagree on stuff, but when it matters we come together.

Extensive flooding continues in both North and South Carolina. In Lumberton, about 30 miles southwest of Fayetteville, a makeshift levee reinforcement broke Sunday, inundating poor neighborhoods that were flooded during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. And in Fair Bluff, which also hasnt recovered from Matthews destruction, water began to fill Main Street on Monday.

Faircloth said Florence has been yet another eye-opening experience for the people of North Carolina.

You never feel safe once youve been through one of em, he said. It always makes you appreciate the things in life better. I think it makes you appreciate your family, your God, everything around you. And never take anything for granted. Never.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – Basketball legend and North Carolina native Michael Jordan is donating $2 million to help with Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, officials said Tuesday.

Jordan is contributing $1 million each to the American Red Cross and the Foundation For The Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund, the Charlotte Hornets said in a news release.

“It’s truly devastating for me to see the damage that Hurricane Florence is doing to my beloved home state of North Carolina and to the surrounding areas,” Jordan said in a news release.

The Foundation For The Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund directs funds to nonprofits in North and South Carolina providing relief to victims of the storm.

Still stranded by Florence's floods, Wilmington residents are lining up by the hundreds for free food, water and tarps as officials try to open new routes to one of the state's largest cities.

Workers began handing out supplies Tuesday morning using a system that resembled a restaurant drive-thru: Drivers in long lines pulled up to pallets lining a street. They placed an order and left without having to get out.

Todd Tremain needed tarps to cover up spots where Florence's high winds ripped shingles off his roof. Others got a case of bottled water or military ready-to-eat meals. An olive-green military forklift moved around huge pallets loaded with supplies.

Wilmington is still virtually cut off from the rest of the state, but officials say they'll open routes as soon as flooding recedes and downed trees and power lines are cleared away.

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