Observations re Flooding from H. Florence

This article is sponsored by Zurich Insurance and appeared in Bloomberg News. Hurricane Florence’s Hard Rains Offer Hard Lessons in Resilience. It contains some interesting observations, such as:

But not every harsh lesson led to positive change. Hurricanes Floyd, Matthew and Florence all saw documented environmental catastrophes due to waste from coal ash dumps and factory-scale hog farms across North Carolina, but political response and regulatory change and enforcement have been limited. The cost of inaction was laid bare by Florence.

“Business leaders need to underline that avoided losses are benefits,” the Florence PERC report concludes. “Not investing in protection is not free but carries the cost of future losses and missed opportunities.”

Waste Issues In N.C. After H. Florence

Hurricane Florence Bathed North Carolina in Raw Sewage. New Figures Show It Was Even Worse Than We Thought.

Polluted flood waters swamped coal ash ponds at power plants. Rising waters engulfed private septic systems in back yards. The unwholesome mix inundated hog waste lagoons on farms. And the torrent overwhelmed municipal waste water treatment plants in towns large and small.

H. Florence Articles and Resources – updated daily

Sept. 20:

CSX Railroad Fought A North Carolina City’s Desperate Attempt To Prevent Devastating Flooding. Now, entire neighborhoods in Lumberton are under water for the second time in as many years.

Hurricane Florence reveals flaw with Saffir-Simpson scale

FEMA chief considered quitting as feud with Homeland Security secretary boiled over. The ongoing drama at FEMA.

A bit of humor from the NYTimes: See this piece by Gail Collins on the response so far.

Sept. 19.  Millions of chickens and thousands of pigs died in Florence in North Carolina

Sept. 18: More headaches as Florence’s waters overtake toxic pits and hog lagoons

Sept. 17:  WSJ: Big Storms Leave Small Marks on the U.S. Economy. Studies show business slows during and after hurricanes hit, but rebuilding leads to a boost in economic activity.

Five Things That Must Change After H. Florence. One is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

Sept. 16: Recovery Issues for Small Towns.

Misery Ahead for Large No. of NC Homeowners Without Flood Insurance.

Special note: The Washington Post has removed its limit on articles re Florence, so even if you are not a subscriber to the digital edition you can read them.

Sept. 14:

Facing heat for 2017, FEMA ramps up hurricane prep for Florence. Note that the last paragraph suggests the really hard part will be the recovery.

An opinion piece from the Washpost . It is Time to Declare the White House a Disaster Area.

Hurricane Florence’s Unusual Extremes Worsened by Climate Change, Scientists Say. Researchers estimate the storm’s rainfall forecast is 50 percent higher because of warmer oceans and more moisture in the atmosphere brought by global warming.

Another article on North Carolina’s failure to deal with sea level rise.


From the NYTimes, this interesting article on the pending governmental efforts to deal with H. Florence. See: Hurricane Florence Is a Formidable Test for FEMA and Trump.

Note that the firm ESRI is offering a number of useful services, according to fellow blogger Eric Holdeman.   See his blog posting titled An Esri Library of Maps and Apps Tracking Hurricane Florence.

From the WSJ on 9/13: Thousands of Homes in Florence’s Path Lack Flood Insurance. Coverage rates have fallen over past five years even as coastal development in the Carolinas has increased.

The Diva would add that research has shown that the root cause of the country’s escalating number of weather- and climate-related disasters is not necessarily a rise in the frequency or intensity of these events but the increasing exposure and vulnerability of populations that lie in their path. See this article and map in the NYTimes that shows the increase of population in vulnerable areas.

Special Needs and Evacuation Issues:


Volunteer Efforts in the Carolinas

The Diva has been impressed with the many “spontaneous” volunteer efforts in the aftermath of H. Florence:, such as the Cajun Navy and Chef Jose Andres (World Central Kitchen). Re the last mentioned, see: He served 3.6 million free meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Now he’s feeding people hit by Florence.

Example of private sector co. donating its services. See: Hurricane Florence evacuees can find free lodging through Airbnb

Also impressive have been the emergency compacts among states and the mutual aid systems the utility companies use.