ECI staff would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their best wishes and concerns in response to the threat posed by Hurricane Florence. We were overwhelmed with the number of well-wishes. We also wanted to extend our thanks for your patience and understanding on Friday when the east coast office was closed in preparations for the storm. We were all very fortunate that our area was not impacted as severely as it could have been, and our thoughts go out to our neighbors in the coastal areas that are still feeling the effects of the storm.
Florence, at its peak a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall Friday morning in Wrightsville Beach and continues to wreak havoc, with North Carolina being the hardest hit. Evacuation orders are still being issued as flooding continues. More than two (2) feet of rain has fallen in some areas, and many rivers hadn’t yet reached their crest on Monday. Several rivers, including Little, Neuse, Cape Fear, and Rocky are in “major flood” stage and continue to rise. According to the National Weather Service, catastrophic and historic river flooding with continue for days across portions of the Carolinas.
As of Monday morning, Duke Power said it had restored power to more than 1 million customers across the Carolinas with about 488,551 customers in North Carolina and 16,385 in South Carolina still without electricity. On Sunday, Duke said 1.25 million customers had lost power at some point during the storm and hard-hit areas restoration could take weeks “due to widespread damage to power lines, utility poles and other key components of the electric grid.”
As a result of the storm, to date, thirty-two (32) people have lost their lives, twenty-five (25) of which were in North Carolina. According to North Carolina Governor Cooper, emergency crews have rescued 2,600 people and more than 300 animals. He added that there are currently more than 14,000 evacuees in shelters in his state. There are also extensive road closings including parts of Interstates 40 and 95. “There are no roads … that are leading into Wilmington [N.C.] that are passable because of the flooding,” Mayor Bill Saffo told WHQR on Sunday,
As of Monday, eight (8) South Carolina counties and eighteen (18) North Carolina counties have been declared disaster areas, with more likely to follow. Carolinians will have to wait for flood waters to recede to even begin to assess the damage caused by Florence.
Please keep those who continue to feel the effects of Florence in your thoughts as the flooding continues and rescues are ongoing. If you are interested in making donations or aiding in relief efforts, there are several options including:
- The American Red Cross is currently taking donations to aid in there response efforts, specifically for those affected by Florence
- AmeriCares is a health-focused disaster relief organization that has deployed a response team to North Carolina. They are currently collecting donations for emergency medicine and other supplies specifically for those impacted by Florence.
- North Carolina Community Foundation (NCCF) is a local organization based in North Carolina that partners with local charities that support the community. You can visit their website for more information about how to support their relief efforts.
- MSN – benevity.org: Your donation helps get food, drinking water, and medical aid to the people in the areas devastated by Hurricane Florence.
- Global Giving has launched a Hurricane Florence relief fund that will support immediate relief efforts such as food, water, and medicine as well as long-term recovery projects.
- NBA Cares: Michael Jordan is joining with the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA to provide “necessary and immediate relief and support to those affected by Hurricane Florence.”