North and South Carolina Areas Wrecked by Hurricane Florence
Some 930,000 people are without power in the North and South Carolina area thanks to Hurricane-turned-tropical-storm Florence.
At the time of this writing, the National Hurricane Center reported the hurricane is still putting forth winds of 50 mph (80 km/h) with gusts bringing in considerable heavy rains. On Friday night, it dumped 23 inches of rain in Morehead City, North Carolina. Other parts of the Carolinas could get an additional 15 inches or more.
A preliminary report of over 30 INCHES of rain has come in from southeast North Carolina which would be a NEW STATE RECORD for rainfall from a tropical storm or hurricane. #Florence. Another 15 inches + could fall in some areas. More info: https://t.co/Cq0ch3zRnc pic.twitter.com/AbSzy7XRYN— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) September 15, 2018
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called Florence an "uninvited brute."
"The fact is this storm is deadly and we know we are days away from an ending," Cooper told the public.
At the time of this writing, there are five confirmed dead from storm-related incidents. Two of the deaths were a mother and a baby who died when a tree fell on their house, reported authorities.
Terrifying statistics about a terrifying storm
Before making landfall, Hurricane Florence topped at a Category 4 with winds upwards of 140 mph. It made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just after 7 a.m. just south of Wilmington, North Carolina.
"Gradual weakening is forecast while Florence moves farther inland during the next couple of days, and it is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by tonight," the NHC's update said on 8 a.m. EST September 15.
The hurricane led to over 900 flights being canceled within, into, or out of the United States on Friday alone. An additional 470 were canceled on Saturday and another 174 canceled on Sunday, according to CBS News data.
The storm will also continue to move inland, as far as west-central Virginia and into West Virginia.
Swells created by Florence are still affecting islands like Bermuda and parts of the Bahamas. Anyone looking to surf in these areas is advised to avoid surfing in these conditions as the storm likely caused "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," according to the NHC.
Relief efforts for those affected
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on Twitter that the company would donate $1 million to the Red Cross to help those in Hurricane Florence's path.
The Carolinas are in our hearts. To our employees there, first responders and everyone in Hurricane Florence’s path, please stay safe. To help those affected, Apple is donating $1M to the Red Cross.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 14, 2018
Tesla and Elon Musk removed the caps on batteries for Teslas in the area. They also gave free access to the company's Supercharger network to help people flee the storm before it made landfall.
Ultimately, the resilience of those in the affected areas is what continues to make headlines in the US.
There were people like Lane Pittman who walked out into a street in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina shirtless and barely dressed to stare down the hurricane.
Pittman made headlines last year after staring down Hurricane Matthew, holding the American flag, and headbanging the entire time to rock music. He returned to take on Hurricane Florence's at-times 80 mph winds.
The White House and President Donald Trump's administration told the American public they'd been preparing with FEMA for the hurricane to make landfall for days prior. Trump is scheduled to visit the afflicted areas next week.
"To the incredible citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina and the entire East Coast … We have already begun mobilizing our assets to respond accordingly, and we are here for you!" Trump said in a statement.
Currently, more than 3,800 federal responders (with over 1,000 of them from FEMA) will partner with local and state authorities in responding to Florence. There are also 40,000 workers from 17 separate states traveling to afflicted areas in attempts to restore power from other power companies and electric cooperatives. The White House anticipates to give out over 6 million meals and 4 million liters of water to people lacking resources.
The United States Navy moved several Sea Hawk helicopters to Naval Station Norfolk in anticipation of helping rescue efforts in the aftermath of Florence.
#USNavy MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters of HSC-7 are recalled today from #USSAbrahamLincoln to Naval Station Norfolk. They'll be better positioned to provide support if required in the aftermath of Hurricane #Florence, now a tropical storm. pic.twitter.com/7zK5foLr1Z— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) September 15, 2018
Even former NBA superstar Michael Jordan is helping with the relief efforts. Jordan is now the lead owner of the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA team located in Charlotte, North Carolina. He announced his team, his office, and others throughout the NBA are launching a campaign to get families back on their feet after the storm.
"The recovery effort will be massive, and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet. Together with the NBA, we have launched a platform to aid those most impacted," the five-time MVP said in a statement. "Please join me, the Hornets organization and the NBA and donate to one of the local organizations assisting in the relief and recovery efforts. To all those affected, stay safe and know that we are here to help."
Interesting Engineering will continue to track Florence and other tropical storms and hurricanes -- and their impact -- as they develop.