By Tess Hays
Hurricane Florence: the storm that has been wrecking the southeastern coast of the United States. As of Friday, September 14, the storm was tracked along the coast of the Carolinas; specifically, North Carolina. The storm reached North Carolina as a Category 1 storm, which may not seem too dangerous, but the flooding has been compared to a “thousand year flood”, according to David Rouzer, a North Carolina representative. In an interview with NPR, he stated that southeastern North Carolina will virtually be underwater. But how dangerous was Florence really, and what damages did North Carolina suffer?
Florence’s winds extended over 53,000 square miles; that is bigger than the entire state of North Carolina. It hit the Carolinas on September 15, only hours before it downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm, still the wind and rain were relentless. Although now a tropical storm, for some, the situation was expected to worsen. North Carolina alone received 9.6 trillion gallons of rain, enough to cover the entire state in 10 inches of water. Unfortunately, the effects of the storm did not cease after hitting the Carolinas. Although the sister states were hit the hardest, Georgia, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland also declared states of emergency.
As of September 22, the death count totaled 43. The storm was admittedly devastating, but it could have been much worse. The governor of North Carolina reported that first responders saved about 5,000 lives. Now, about 2,000 people are staying in Red Cross stations throughout the Carolinas, and several charities, including Habitat for Humanity and Americares are raising money to send to those affected by the storm. You can help by donating to one of these or any other organization(for example, the official GoFundMe Hurricane Relief Fund), or see if you can volunteer in some way.