Flooding

Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

 The historic flooding from Florence has eased, but communities and environmentalists are just beginning to take stock of the damage it caused.

Fayetteville Spared From Widespread Flooding

Sep 21, 2018
Fayetteville City Engineer Giselle Rodriguez assesses storm damage and high water marks in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
City of Fayetteville

Wind and water from Hurricane Florence damaged approximately 1,200 buildings in Fayetteville, but city officials say the town was spared from widespread flooding.

The North Carolina National Guard was deployed to help in the fight against Florence.
NC National Guard

North Carolina is still reeling from Hurricane Florence. The death toll from the storm rose to at least 37 people in three different states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina. There are roughly 10,000 people still in shelters. Governor Roy Cooper urged those who evacuated to stay put. 

Linda Rupert

Tropical Depression Florence is well inland, but North Carolina is still reeling from the storm. All of the state’s 100 counties have experienced some form of National Weather System alert, from flash flood watch to hazardous weather outlook.

 In a two-hour special broadcast to stations around North Carolina, The State of Things speaks with residents, journalists, officials and experts about the devastating storm impact. 

Vehicles drive through water from the White Oak River flooding Highway 24 as Hurricane Florence hit Swansboro N.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Tom Copeland / AP Photo

North Carolina is feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence. The major storm is expected to cause catastrophic flooding and long power outages. Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii and WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs for the latest from the governor and on state response.

North Carolinians have been clearing grocery shelves and stocking up on clean water in anticipation of Hurricane Florence. However the insurance industry says if you want to really prepare for the worst, you need to take stock of what you've already got at home.

Flooding along NC 211 near Lumberton make roads impassable on Monday, October 10, 2016.
Jay Price / WUNC

A report on the potential for hurricane damage says more than 250,000 homes in North Carolina face some chance of flooding.  

Overhead view of Hurricane Matthew
NASA / Flickr

It's Hurricane Preparedness week, and North Carolina public safety officials want residents to consider how vulnerable they'd be if a big storm hit their area.

flooding in Raleigh
Gerry Broome / AP

A year ago, Hurricane Matthew dumped a dozen or more inches of rain on central and eastern North Carolina. Record flooding in the days following the storm devastated communities downstream.

tink tracy / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/6cMNx8

A report on sea level rise in North Carolina points to dozens of coastal communities that face chronic flooding over the next century. 

Homes along Highway 401 in Bunnlevel were threatened as the nearby Upper Little River overflowed its banks on Sunday, October 9, 2016.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Congress is debating a bill that would overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program. The move could significantly raise rates for homeowners in North Carolina's highest-risk areas.

Liz Bell

Many communities in eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The storm hit the East Coast last October, and in Edgecombe County hundreds of students were displaced after flooding nearly destroyed Princeville Elementary School. Now the Edgecombe County school board must decide on next steps for rebuilding the school.

Flood map for portions of North Carolina until 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
Courtesy of the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has extended flood warnings for central and eastern North Carolina, and will continue to monitor conditions throughout the week. 

Princeville, Hurricane Matthew, Flooding
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The town of Princeville, North Carolina was established by freed slaves after the Civil War, and it is the oldest town incorporated by African-Americans in the United States. Hurricane Matthew put the town underwater, but leaders there are vowing to rebuild and reclaim the historical place. Members of the National Guard are pumping millions of gallons of water back into the Tar River while residents wait to see if anything is salvageable. 

Princeville, Flooding, Race, Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Residents in a small, mostly African-American community in eastern North Carolina are still waiting to see what’s left of their flooded homes since the wrath of Hurricane Matthew.

flood maps from 2006 and 2016
North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program

New state maps detailing the risk of coastal flooding show some areas are less flood-prone than previously calculated.

If the updated maps are approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 31,000 properties in coastal North Carolina will have their flood risk classification downgraded.

Flooding in Chapel Hill on Sunday
Jstn568 / wunderground

Flooding and hurricanes are the main natural threats facing North Carolina, according to a new risk assessment map published online by the World Bank.

The interactive map is designed to help developers and project planners anticipate natural disasters and the impact of climate change.

Flash flooding led first responders to evacuate residents of two Chapel Hill apartment complexes.
Jess Clark

Flash flooding led firefighters to evacuate residents of two Chapel Hill apartment complexes Wednesday afternoon.

The Walters Dam on the Pigeon River in Waterville.
ChristopherM / Wikipedia

Fourteen dams failed in South Carolina as a result of heavy storms in the region. North Carolina escaped that fate this time around.

Bridget Munger of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says the state regulates more than 2,600 active dams. Many are classified as low- and intermediate-hazard levels, which means a failure could block road ways and cause thousands of dollars in damage. But nearly half of state regulated dams are considered high-hazard.

Falls Lake
JCWF / Wikipedia

Reservoirs are full and over-flowering after North Carolina received 15-inches of rain in the past week.

State Climatologist Ryan Boyles says that's about three-months-worth of rain. Boyles says the rain was welcome, at first, after a very dry summer.

"Sometimes it's either too little or too much, and it's not very often that we can get just the right amount," Boyles said. "But in particular, it's tough to manage when so much rain falls over such a short period of time. The ground just can't absorb it."

Governor Pat McCrory addressed a gaggle of local officials and media members on Tuesday in Brunswick County. He says the main focus now is determining how to best help farmers in the eastern region of the state effected by weekend storms.
Jeff Tiberii

Many farmers in eastern North Carolina continue to assess crop damage following weekend storms. Flooded fields are expected to result in depleted peanut, sweet potato and cotton harvests this fall. Governor Pat McCrory expressed concern about the agriculture industry at a Tuesday briefing.

A picture of a flooded New Jersey pumpkin patch.
Jackie / Wikipedia

The worst of the stormy weather has passed. But Brian Long of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the trouble is still ahead for farmers.

"Unfortunately, the impacts are on some of the crops that are major for North Carolina: Peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco, soybeans, in particular. And then you think about farmers, such as pumpkin farmers, that this is the time of year when their crop is in demand, and we're hearing some reports of pumpkins, you know, actually just floating in water in fields."

A picture of a puddle.
Wars / Wikipedia

Several storms, including Hurricane Joaquin, have brought heavy rains, strong winds, and high tides to North Carolina. It's causing flooding, saturated ground, slick roads and falling trees.

Route 12 on Hatteras Island was cut in five locations by Hurricane Irene.
Steve Helber / AP

The National Hurricane Center will be providing new warnings about storm surge starting next year. 

In the past, hurricane warnings have been issued based on wind predictions. Now, storm surge will be taken into account as well.

Jamie Rhome of the National Hurricane Center says that is especially important for states like North Carolina.

"I can't just say that storm surge is going to be bad in North Carolina because in some places it is going to catastrophic and in the next community over it might not be so bad," Rhome says.

An illustration of Hurricane Arthur's projected path.
National Weather Service

Category one Hurricane Arthur has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

Hatteras Island residents have begun a mandatory evacuation this morning, and a State of Emergency has been issued for all of Dare County. Hyde County has issued a voluntary evacuation for Ocracoke Island for 2 p.m. today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Lara Pagano said North Carolinians can expect to feel the effects of the hurricane's outer bands today.

A preliminary flood maps show gains and reductions in base flood elevation along the coast.
NC Department of Public Safety

It would be easy to look at the newest round of floodplain maps and think that we've been wrong about the Outer Banks all this time.

For the past decade, the standard line has been that things on the coast are getting worse. Sea levels are rising; the shoreline is eroding; flooding is becoming a bigger threat. Flood risk is largely determined by a series of maps produced by the state of North Carolina. Those maps then make their way to FEMA, who administer the National Flood Insurance Program. Basically, the higher your risk, the more you pay in flood insurance.

NCDPS

This month, North Carolina launched FRIS, the Flood Risk Information System. It's the first system of its kind in the country to put all of the state's flood risk data, county-by-county, building-by-building, into one digital initiative.

It's not the prettiest map ever designed, but it's full of all sort of information that used to require a lot of manpower to produce for whoever wanted it.

NC DENR

Engineers in Raleigh's Storm Water Utilities Department are planning to replace dams protecting some capital city neighborhoods.  Each project is expected to begin next year with costs into the millions of dollars.

A screen shot from the Surge Guidance System shows storm surge data from Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast in October 2012.
RENCI

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill are using storm surge data to give coastal communities a better idea of what they can expect during hurricanes. 

The university's Renaissance Computing Institute, or RENCI, has a network called the Surge Guidance System.  It gathers intricate details of ocean activity to calculate where, how and when storm surge will affect certain areas. 

Flooding in Chapel Hill on Sunday
Jstn568 / wunderground

Orange County continues to recover from weekend flooding, and officials are trying to secure relief funding for those displaced.

At a news conference today, Chapel Hill officials said close to 130 residences are unlivable due to water damage from weekend rain. It's unclear when, or if, people who lived in those units can go back home.

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