VELOCITY HELPS REBUILD AFTER HURRICANE FLORENCE
Hurricane Florence was the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Florence originated from a strong tropical wave that emerged off the west coast of Africa and was a long-lived Cape Verde hurricane and the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the Carolinas. It was also the ninth wettest tropical cyclone to affect the contiguous United States. An unexpected bout of rapid intensification culminated with Florence becoming a Category Four major hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale with estimated maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.
Despite making landfall as a weakened Category One hurricane on September 14, 2018 over Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Florence still had enough wind speed to uproot trees and cause widespread power outages throughout the Carolinas. The storm continually dumped heavy rain along coastal areas was still stalled out only a few miles west of Wilmington. Coupled with a large storm surge, this caused widespread flooding along a long stretch of the North Carolina coast, from New Bern to Wilmington. As the storm moved inland, heavy rain caused widespread inland flooding, inundating cities such as Fayetteville, Smithfield, Lumberton, Durham, and Chapel Hill, as major rivers such as the Neuse River, Eno River, Cape Fear River, and Lumber River all spilled over their banks. The storm also spawned tornadoes in several places along its path. Many places received record-breaking rainfall, with more than 30 inches measured in some locations. At least 53 deaths were attributed to the storm, hundreds of people displaced from their homes and businesses and damage in North Carolina reached approximately $13 billion with losses elsewhere still being tabulated.