Environment

A red wolf
Joan Lopez via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Southern Environmental Law Center is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over public records related to conservation efforts for red wolves in eastern North Carolina.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

The city of Greensboro says a contractor is responsible for dumping a potentially carcinogenic chemical into the water supply in the Cape Fear River Basin. 

A picture of a coal ash pond.
Waterkeeper Alliance

Duke Energy is asking a state court to intervene in a dispute with environmental regulators over whether the company should excavate coal ash pits at six power plants. 

Sign on a tree that reads 'Ocracoke is greater then Dorian, we got this!'
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A month after many North Carolinians witnessed little to no damage from Hurricane Dorian, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands is still desperate for help.

A boarded up window with pain that reads 'At least it's not snowing...'
Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

Politicians worldwide felt the heat on climate policy this week after a reported four million protesters took to the streets. The leader of the Global Climate Strike, Greta Thunberg, told world leaders that they had “stolen her dreams.”

Pittsboro courthouse
1nativeTexan / flickr

Researchers from Duke and N.C. State this week briefed Pittsboro officials on the presence of unregulated chemicals in the town's water supply.

Cameras outside the International Space Station captured a stark and sobering view of Hurricane Florence the morning of Sept. 12 as it churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles an hour.
Courtesy of NASA

Coastal flooding from hurricanes and other tropical storms is getting worse, according to a recent study by researchers at the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City. Scientists looked at more than 120 years of data on tropical cyclones and rainfall in North Carolina. They found six of the wettest events occurred in the last 20 years. Hans Paerl, the study's lead author, says statistical analysis shows that’s more than just a string of bad luck.

Duke Energy says it wants to cut its carbon emissions from electricity generation in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A water fountain inside a hallway at a school at Chapel Hill Carrboro Public Schools.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Even low levels of lead can cause harm to children, but 22 states, including North Carolina, don’t require schools and day cares to test the levels of lead in children’s drinking water.

A flooded street on Ocracoke Island.
CREDIT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE / MOREHEAD CITY

The Outer Banks is bracing for a long recovery after Hurricane Dorian.

The State Emergency Response Team worked with Hyde County officials to push supplies to Ocracoke to recover from Dorian Items include such as generators, food, water, fuel, and portable shower, potties and laundry facilities.
N.C. Emergency Management / Twitter

North Carolina will get some much-needed money to help with mounting repair costs the state has incurred in response to devastating hurricanes and other storms.

The Federal Highway Administration said in a statement Tuesday that North Carolina would get $51 million for the cost of repairing roads and bridges.

Photo from Ocracoke Friday morning
Courtesy of Theresa Ray

Hurricane Dorian churned off the North Carolina coast, but by Friday evening had headed further into the Atlantic Ocean, prompting forecasters to lift hurricane and tropical storm warnings south of the Virginia-North Carolina border.

NWS Newport/Morehead City

Hurricane Dorian continues to move up the Atlantic coast, and while many areas were spared, it has created dangerous flooding conditions on North Carolina’s barrier islands. Flash flooding sent quickly rising waters into homes on Ocracoke Island this morning and hundreds of people may still be trapped. Gov. Roy Cooper said this morning in a briefing that communication is  limited and rescuers will have a difficult time reaching the island.

A photo taken on Ocracoke Island.
National Weather Service / Morehead City

Ocracoke Island resident Leslie Lanier says some residents on the thin strip of land on North Carolina's coast have had to climb into their attics because of high water from Hurricane Dorian.

Extensive damage and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian is seen in Great Abaco, Bahamas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.
Gonzalo Gaudenzi / AP

Lugging empty suitcases, plastic buckets and backpacks, dazed survivors of Hurricane Dorian made their way back to the shantytown where they used to live, hoping to gather up some of their soggy belongings.

The community was known as The Mudd — or "Da Mudd," as it's often pronounced — and it was built by thousands of Haitian migrants over decades. It was razed in a matter of hours by Dorian, which reduced it to piles of splintered plywood and two-by-fours 4 and 5 feet deep, spread over an area equal to several football fields.

A satellite image of Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As Hurricane Dorian churns up the U.S. Atlantic coast, North Carolinians are experiencing strong winds and rain. The storm could cause more than 700,000 power outages in the Carolinas, according to Duke Energy predictions.

Damage after a tornado hit Morehead City
National Weather Service / Morehead City

Updated 5 p.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Dorian is expected to slowly weaken as it travels near and along the coasts of South and North Carolina.

In its 5 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center says Dorian has weakened slightly and remains a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

Flash Flood outlook
National Weather Service / Hurricane Center

Updated 5 p.m.

Duke Energy is projecting there could be more than 700,000 power outages due to Hurricane Dorian – including some that could last days.

A sign indicates a store is open in flood-damaged Lumberton, N.C.
Jay Price / WUNC

Robeson County and Lumberton suffered some of the worst damage from Hurricane Florence last year and Matthew in 2016. Now it's bracing for Dorian.

Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tides. Storm surge should not be confused with storm tide, which is defined as the water level rise due to the combination of storm surge and the astr
National Hurricane Center

Forecasters are warning of significant storm surge as Hurricane Dorian slowly moves up the east coast.

National Weather Service / Hurricane Center

Updated 12:45 p.m.

Pope Francis is urging prayers for victims of Hurricane Dorian , saying they're suffering from the loss of their homes and their lives.

The flash flood threat will increase today and tonight along the Florida peninsula, then spread up the southeast and mid-Atlantic coast during the middle and latter part of the week.
National Weather Service / Hurricane Center

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper issued a mandatory state evacuation order for vulnerable coastal areas.

The evacuation order, effective at 8 am on Wednesday, applies to barrier islands along the entire coast, from the Virginia line to the South Carolina line. 

Solar panels convert solar energy to usable engergy.
Pxhere

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality recently released a plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gases from electricity production over the next decade. The goal is to get to zero emissions by 2050, starting with a 60 to 70% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030.

Herb and flower farmer Isabelle Barron stands in front of a row of elderflowers, at Patchwork Urban Farm's plot on Hillside St.
Cass Herrington / BPR News

A plant that grows wild in Western North Carolina is having a moment.

Elderflower, “or elder,” as it’s often called, is being infused in cocktails, preserved in jams -- and it was even baked into Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding cake.

Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Orrin Pilkey was sounding the alarm about climate change and sea level rise long before the topics were part of public consciousness. As an early whistleblower, his work was not always well received, but he pressed on and has authored and edited dozens of books about the environment in the past few decades. His latest book, co-authored with his son Keith, takes a look at some of the unexpected ways climate-related sea level rise will affect the lives and livelihoods of people across the United States.

Aerial photo taken August 4, 2019, shows a large algae bloom in the Chowan River. State officials are warning the public to avoid the bloom, which has tested positive for microcystins.
Environmental Working Group / EWG

Toxic algae are increasingly showing up in lakes across the country. A new study from the Environmental Working Group examines how state and federal agencies monitor microcystins, which are toxins that can form in blue-green algae.

Residents of an apartment complex in Fayetteville, look at a flooded car in a parking lot on Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2018.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Christy Saunders swung open the door of an enclosed trailer revealing folded animal crates, food bowls, leashes, pooper scoopers and massive rolls of plastic sheeting.

Image of the Appalachian Mountains.
Flickr Creative Commons

Many Americans spend more time looking at screens than they spend outside — or even looking out a window. This increased disconnect between humans and nature comes at a time when scientists warn that the environment is especially vulnerable: the recent National Climate Estimate estimates that annual average temperatures in the U.S. are expected to rise by about 2.5°F in the next few decades. A new collection of nature writing from Appalachia aims to bring readers closer to nature through stories about both the splendor of the mountain region and clear examples of how humans are changing the planet.

The Infamous Corpse Flower Blooms At NC State

Aug 2, 2019
The Titan Arum, or Corpse Flower, has bloomed in NC State's Marye Anne Fox Science Laboratory.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

A rare flower has bloomed on North Carolina State University's campus for the second time in three years.

flounder
NC DENR

The state Marine Fisheries Commission will meet later this month to consider instituting fishing seasons to help increase the stock of one of the state’s key commercial fish species.

Pages