Hurricane Florence hit the coasts of the Carolinas on Friday, bringing 90 mph winds and at least three and a half inches of rain. According to the Huffington Post, the category 1 storm has resulted in massive power outages along the coast and intense rain, leaving hundreds of people stranded and at least five people dead. Now, rescue crews are scouring the coastal areas, attempting to save people who are trapped. So far, they have rescued 60 people who were trapped in a motel.
The force of the storm has knocked down power lines, leaving a quarter of a million people in the dark. Roads have crumbled and trees have fallen, and Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, describes the storm as “an uninvited brute who doesn’t want to leave.”
Florence is set to creep across the state, moving west across the Carolinas and touching down in Georgia. The storm is so violent that it has caused storm surges of seawater, thrusting the water ashore as high as 10 feet. Though there have been thousands of people evacuated, some have remained in the areas.
“I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth,” said Tom Ballance, who owns a restaurant that is now completely flooded. The hurricane hit early Friday morning, and by afternoon the winds slowed from 90 mph to 75 mph. Despite its slow trajectory west, the hurricane is set to batter the Carolinas well through the weekend. Residents in the inland areas are preparing for the worst, as flash flood warnings could occur for the next several days. Authorities are also warning of mudslides and further power outages.
As a response to the extreme conditions, about 9,700 National Guard troops have been deployed to carry out rescue operations. The government’s response to Hurricane Florence is seen by many as a test, especially after the criticism that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) received for their actions after Hurricane Maria. Maria touched down in Puerto Rico last year, leaving billions of dollars in damages and at least 3,000 people dead.
Meteorologists are projecting that Hurricane Florence will “dump a staggering 18 trillion gallons of rain over a week on North Carolina, South Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Maryland.” According to Meteorologist Ryan Maue, the 18 trillion gallons are enough to “fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water.”