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Wilmington Faces A Long And Costly Cleanup After Florence

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence top a section of U.S. 421 near the Pender-New Hanover County line north of Wilmington.
NC Department of Transportation

Hurricane Florence lashed Wilmington with high winds when it made landfall more than two weeks ago, and then the trouble started. The storm inundated the coastal city with 30 to 40 inches of rain in three days.

Now, city officials are looking at a costly cleanup. City council members heard at a meeting Monday that picking up storm debris will cost up to $20 million, almost 20 times the $1.2 million it cost Wilmington to remove debris after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

"This is going to be a long process," said Deputy City Manager Tony Caudle, addressing council members. "This will take us at least two years to get out of this and close this project out. More than likely, three."

City officials expect, in the end, cleanup crews will remove up to 1.2 million cubic yards of vegetative debris such as fallen trees.

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