Florence Effects, Evacuations Ongoing

EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA – Evacuations are ongoing in several parts of North and South Carolina as the water Hurricane Florence dropped on the states continues to flow.

“About 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, were alerted to be prepared to evacuate potential flood zones ahead of a “record event” of up to 10 feet (3 meters) of flooding, which is expected to begin Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said.

Residents along the Waccamaw were bracing for water expected to peak Wednesday at 22 feet (6.7 meters) near Conway. That’s twice the normal flood stage, and far higher than the previous record of 17.9 feet (5.5 meters), according to charts published by the National Weather Service on Monday.

The Cape Fear and Neuse rivers also remain swollen, and aren’t expected to return to normal levels until October, the charts show.”

Residents in the storm’s direct path are slowly attempting to return to normal, at least opening up for business. “Normal” may not be attainable for many of these communities for quite some time judging by the extent of the devastation.

As far as those communities near flooding rivers, the situation feels just as dire as when the storm was making landfall.

“North Carolina Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said major flooding is continuing in eastern counties along the Black, Lumber, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers.

“Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina,” Cooper said in a statement Sunday evening. He added that crews conducted about 350 rescues over the weekend and that travel remains treacherous in the southeastern area of his state. But he said National Guard members would be shifting next to more door-to-door and air search wellness checks on people in still-flooded areas.

The storm has claimed at least 43 lives since slamming into the coast Sept. 14.

In Washington, lawmakers are considering almost $1.7 billion in new money for disaster relief and recovery […]”

Preliminary estimates of the financial toll Florence will leave behind are already placing the storm among the 10 most costly natural disasters in the United States. An economic research firm is predicting $40 billion in damages and as much as $4 billion in lost economic activity.

That will certainly put it a dent in what is otherwise a strong economy in the Old North State. Absorbing the blow is certainly made easier by the steady reduction in taxes and regulations over the last several years by successive Republican legislative majorities.

As lawmakers convene for a special session next month to consider disaster aid, expanding tax reductions and clearing bureaucratic red tape associated with economic development should also be considered.

Read more here.

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