We’re tracking Florence – Due to the size and slow tracking speed, the most vulnerable regions, like New Bern, North Carolina, are experiencing a life-threatening 11-foot surge with hundreds needing rescue. As of 12 noon, the Category 1 storm is tracking slowly WSW at 3 mph with a maximum sustained wind speed of 80 mph. The storm continues sucking up warm ocean moisture from the coasts and depositing it inland causing widespread flooding. Mandatory evacuations were ordered but it is unclear how many ignored that order. Out-of-State FEMA teams were working on the rescues. Dangerous conditions will persist as the storm continues to collect energy from the ocean. Currently more than 3-4 million are projected to lose power, though currently only about 600,000 are without electricity as of 12 noon, according to poweroutage.us .
Florence is a Massive Storm – Image: Google Crisis Map
Dredging during a Hurricane? – Myrtle Beach was smack in the middle of their beach nourishment project when Florence was forecasted to make a direct hit to the Carolinas. Contractors mobilized some 25,000 feet of pipeline, 5-6 loaders and two dredge vessels in the week leading up to Florence. The vessels will seek shelter in a nearby harbor while the other equipment is moved to high ground. Myrtle beach is to receive approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of beach-quality sediment during this project. Large storms are capable of transporting millions of cubic yards of sand, like Sandy did. We have yet to see how the beach fares against the short term and long term erosion consequences of the storm, but USGS predicts that the storm will have lasting effects. We’ll be visiting Myrtle Beach later this Fall and will report how the shoreline held up.
The purpose of beach nourishment is twofold – 1.) preserve and prevent damage to property life and safety, and 2.) bring economic development to an area. Sand beaches and dunes act as sacrificial berms during hurricanes and bring travel and tourism to our beaches, which increase property values and drive up tax revenues, especially during the summer season. A post-storm reconnaissance study will be performed by the Corps of Engineers to determine if additional sand will be needed, which will drive up the total cost. Equipment is expected to be remobilized and operational within 1-2 weeks. Corps of Engineers Project Manager Wes Wilson says, “We’ll be the first dredge pumping sand after Florence.”
Tails of a Hurricane – During Hurricane Harvey over 2 million animals drowned. This is because the USDA considers farmed animals ‘replaceable property’ rather than life. This is wrong, factory-farmed animals deserve better (like being set free) - but this isn’t the place to talk animal rights ethics. If you’re interested, continue reading here or please send me a message. What matters to people living in the North Carolina region is the manure and waste ponds that contain hundreds of millions of gallons of pig excrement that could flood and pollute local water supply for several months. This is what happened during Matthew and Floyd. Currently there are up to 9 million farm animals in North Carolina at risk of drowning and over 532 open-air manure ponds that are within the floodplain or 100 feet of it. Farmers raced to mobilize animals to higher ground and drain waste ponds before the storm. Will it be enough?