Hurricane Florence looked menacing as it neared the eastern United States, swirling at category 4 and 5 levels as citizens in its path looked on in horror.
And while the storm may have lost a bit of its power and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. The powerful storm has already done a lot of damage, raising the toll of loss for both property and human lives.
The storm was still classified as a category 1 hurricane when it hit the shore near Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday. It was moving west at about two miles per hour, sending out winds that were about 25-times as fast. The storm sent disastrous weather throughout both of the Carolinas, causing a massive amount of damage.
The storm is currently expected to head northwest before dissipating within the next few days. North Carolina has already seen record high levels of rain, with nearly 30-inches pouring down throughout Swansboro. This beats the previous record by half a foot, back when Hurricane Floyd dumped two feet of water on the state back in 1999.
There have unfortunately been fatalities from the storm, as nine people perished. A mother and child were killed in Wilmington after a tree fell on their home. Another mother was killed when her vehicle struck a downed tree in the road, and three others perished from flooding in roadways.
Rescuers are currently out and trying to get to those people who are still trapped. Some people are in partially submerged homes, holding out on roofs and awaiting rescue. Rescue crews are compromised of state and federal officials, as well as volunteers. Some used makeshift floats to pull trapped people from flooded areas.
Power outages are the norm in these areas, with lines snaking across roadways as massive wind gusts and flying debris ripped them from their power poles. There’s also concern about diseases in the area, as high water, even in non-fatal amounts, can lead to very serious sanitation issues.
And while the storm is dying down in certain areas, officials have noted that it isn’t done yet. There are still severe weather threats and a lot of concerns about how the storm will continue to inflict harm. When a grocery store in the Wilmington area opened up midday, people rushed it in a panic.
As hundreds of people trudged through floodwaters to get what supplies they could, it looked like a post-apocalyptic scene. The police arrived to help reestablish order and then created a line so people could pay for their items in an orderly fashion.
When power was restored to a nearby Exxon station, lines of cars quickly formed that stretched for about a half mile. Dozens of people came on foot as well with gas containers in hand.
With over a million power failures being reported and waters still high, there are still concerns about safety issues and recovery efforts as Florence’s wrath continues.