A Marine assigned to Combat Logistics Group 8 drives to a fire station to evacuate civilians in Jacksonville Sept. 15, 2018, after Hurricane Florence. Nello Miele / Marine Corps

NC - Florence's Financial Toll Clearer Two Years On

Two years ago this month Hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina, leaving in its path billions in damage.

A large, slow-moving Category 1, Hurricane Florence made landfall the morning of Sept. 14, 2018. The eye crossed Wrightsville Beach at 7:15 a.m. and the storm hovered for two days producing a record-breaking, 30-plus inches of rain in some areas in the state, according to the National Weather Service.

A May 2019 report from the National Weather Service states that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information estimates that wind and water damage caused by Florence totaled around $24 billion. Damage losses in North Carolina due to Florence’s winds, freshwater flooding and storm surge flooding totaled $22 billion. There were 15 direct fatalities in North Carolina due to Florence, 11 due to freshwater flooding and four to wind.

Gov. Roy Cooper created the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency shortly after Hurricane Florence to help residents in storm-impacted areas.

“We are committed to helping people rebuild their lives in areas hit hard by multiple storms in recent years,” Cooper said last week. “We have made significant progress on recovery, but the increasing number and intensity of storms shows the importance of building back smarter and stronger.”

NCORR, in the Department of Public Safety, manages programs statewide that include homeowner recovery, infrastructure, affordable housing, resiliency, strategic buyout and local government grants and loans.

NCORR Chief Resilience Officer Jessica Whitehead told Coastal Review Online that under Cooper’s leadership, “Our state has implemented a three-pronged approach that includes developing statewide strategies for climate change, using disaster recovery funding to rebuild more resiliently, and securing additional federal grant funding to assist local governments with resilience planning and projects.”

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