By Luisa Chainferber
Hurricane Florence has already caused record-shattering flooding and 42 deaths, says the Guardian.
In Lumberton, North Carolina, town leaders blamed a rail company for the Hurricane Florence flooding. Local officials desired to cover a hole in the levee system with a temporary berm last week, as Hurricane Florence moved closer. Yet CSX, one of the largest rail companies in the United States, refused to allow anyone inside their property to build it, reports CNBC. The North Carolina state Senator Danny Britt stated that CSX endangered lives and millions of dollars of personal property in order to protect their own interests.
Lumberton Mayor Druce Davis also reacted to CSX’s actions and reaffirmed that only the governor could force CSX to assist the building of a permanent floodgate. Davis also stated that CSX has never been a partner of North Carolina, and that the rail company told city officials that anyone who attempted to stem the flood from the underpass would be considered a trespasser. Lumberton is among the towns in North Carolina that also suffered from flooding during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
According to CBS, more evacuations were requested in South Carolina, as Hurricane Florence unloaded trillion gallons of water to the sea, which raised river levels and threatened even more destruction. In a letter, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster estimated damages at $1.2 billion, and classified the flood as the worst disaster in the state’s modern history. Roughly 50,000 homes and businesses are still without electricity after Florence, and more than 900,000 in three states were previously without power as well.
Although the crisis is slowly ending in Wilmington, the access to the city remains limited, and officials requested that people who have evacuated should wait a few more days, says CBS. As rivers were repeatedly rising back, officials also warned the population to continue on guard.
In addition, Hurricane Florence impacted agricultural production in South Carolina. The State Journal has estimated that the eight counties of Pee Dee, a northern region of South Carolina, suffered $125 million in losses. On September 20, Governor Henry McMaster formally solicited $1.2 billion in aid from the federal government to assist the state with the problems created by the continued flooding.
The waters continue to rise in rivers in Pee Dee, so the worst may be yet to come. The crops that suffered the most were cotton, soybeans, and peanuts. As the water is still rising, it is hard to complete a firm estimate of any crop loss. With the third crop loss in four years, many farmers in South Carolina are unlikely to survive without federal government assistance.
USA Today highlighted that the last four hottest years on record globally would be the last four years from 2014 to 2017. Moreover, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated a 70% chance that the 2018 hurricane season will include 10 to 16 named storms, from which five to nine are likely to become hurricanes.
As a solution, USA Today suggested creating tax incentives and enhancement of all parties touching the energy supply chain in order to encourage public-private partnerships. As extreme weather became the new normal, customers and businesses alike require incentives for the adoption of stable energy infrastructure.