As the Winds Come, Towns in Hurricane Florence’s Path Fear the Floods

The storm surge in the Carolinas could be deadly. But for inland towns, it’s the water that will fall afterward that could really bring disaster.

Comments: 116

  1. First: thank NYT for the open coverage; you might make that notice a bit bolder.
    Second: As a nontheist, I cannot really prayers, but I do hope all will be safe and that the worst speculations do not eventuate.

  2. I was visiting Charleston during Matthew and that city was totally unprepared for the storm. The police were not clear where the emergency shelters were.

  3. @Tears For USA there are no shelters this year in Chas Co.
    We have overbuilt- and still frantically at it, paving every inch of permeable surface, rezoned flood lands,marshes, so now a thunderstorm produces flooding.
    Complete madness folks, can't say Joni Mitchell didn't warn y'all almost 50 years ago.

  4. That is unbelievable and another reason not to waste your money visiting Charleston. I stayed at some top hotels there and they didn’t even have back up generators. Spend your vacation and business meetings money in sunny California. They are prepared for emergencies.

  5. Well-crafted prose, almost lyrical. I appreciate that, under the circumstances.

  6. This is the first article I have read that talks about the delayed action of Florence. I have forwarded this to my friends in Greenville.

    Of course, nothing we learn from this storm will inform the way we develop future coastal and flood prone inland areas.

  7. This one storm shows how poor the planning was on development with respect to weather patterns. In the next ten years we will get much worse storms due to a change in the axis and rotation of the planet. There is a shifting in the planet and the level of pollution is changing carbon levels which will produce higher water levels. Virginia will not get hit hard but The next few storms will start heading north. Sea levels are going to cause flooding over the next ten to twenty years. It is a result of development worldwide and carbon dioxide buildup which is causing the warming of the planet.

  8. @Ralph Petrillo. what will happen at first is that "average" Americans will be priced out of owning beach property because flood insurance will get so expensive they won't be able to afford it. Either that, or as what finally happened along parts of the Missippippi River after two consecutive years of devastating flooding the federal government said ENOUGH. Flood areas were bought out and people had to move, no choice about it. Why should we continue to dish out billions every year in taxpayer bucks for such stupidity? Adapt or die, isn't that the Republican credo?

  9. The city spokesman of Greenville said flooding seemed to be getting worse because of the expansion of the university that means more pavement and other impermeable surfaces.

    It doesn't have to be this way. There is cement used for roads now that does absorb water instead of letting it run off into storm drains. Also, green roofs absorb water instead of letting it run off into the streets. There are ways cities can fight storm runoff besides storm drains that eventually flood in heavy rains.

  10. @Linda

    We're talking hurricane force winds ( good luck retaining the green roof) and hurricane quantities of water - I suggest neither roadway nor green roof can absorb those levels of water. When the ground is saturated, as it becomes in any major slow-moving hurricane, having a permeable roadway still doesn't allow the ground below the roadway to handle more liquid from the permeable concrete above. Never mind the problem of winter water freezing and destroying the water absorbed concrete. For what it's worth.

  11. Beautifully written as well as informative.

  12. Now all that most people can do, is to see what happens.

    I will not say "my hopes and prayers" are with those in the Carolinas ... in part because this trite phrase has become what Republicans say when they don't care, and sure do not intend to actually do anything ... but also because so much of this could have been avoided, if people would face the truth.

    According to Barbara Tuchman, the definition of folly is doing something you know will fail, because you cannot accept anything else. And that's what we see here.

  13. @Lee Harrison
    Nice to see a nod to Barbara Tuchman! Such an interesting writer who makes any period of history fascinating from medieval history to The Guns of August and on into the more recent past. Now more than ever we all need to be studying history.
    One of her titles involving disastrously mistaken policies may well be reused by some present day historian studying our government - The March of Folly.

  14. I wish all my best to everyone in the path of Florence. Don't take chances, stay safe, and take care of each other! Hopefully it won't be as bad as predicted.

  15. We went through Irene up here in Vermont. This looks worse though our state was terribly battered. We got through it rather well for a few reasons (like an ethos of helping neighbors and strong communities), most notably really great leadership, most of all Sue Minter (who should be our governor and would be if she was in the race right now). Minter should be getting calls left and right from southern states, she was absolutely extraordinary at dealing with the aftermath of a terrible storm, of roads and houses wrecked, power outages galore, people and whole communities stunned. She was a skillful and wise Recovery Queen and I wish everyone in Florence's path has someone like her, and we wish you all the very best. Stay safe, get out of harm's way, do not be foolish, help your neighbors, now and in the days and weeks ahead. And please oh please vote wisely.

  16. @moosemaps
    Irene was a strange lesson in what can happen for inland areas hit with abnormal ( or new normal) hurricane level rain: it was ruinous in upstate NY as well: for instance, a large area of the Schoharie Valley was under 12 feet of water. 100 year flood? Hah. I don't think it has seen that level since the glaciers melted. Where the populations are lower, it doesn't become a dramatic news story - but the recovery ( often limited) has taken taken years.

  17. "Historic" storms are the new normal. Let them come. Nothing but repeated lashings will awaken our society to its most urgent responsibility: drastic reduction of atmospheric carbon.

  18. @Mford: hurricanes are not caused by carbon, and they have existed for millions of years. The problem isn't the hurricanes -- it's that so many people have moved to live in "scenic" places PRONE to hurricanes.

  19. Just heard on cable news that rivers aren't expected to crest until this coming Tuesday, so there is going to be sustained massive flooding.

  20. Looking at the photo that accompanies this article, I only could imagine what yet is to come ... and the folks who decided to stay. I hope they make it. I really do.

  21. @Castanet My thought was: Is this a NY Times photographer who is 'in harm's way' taking this picture? I hope not! Reporters & photographers, please stay safe rather than risk your lives to get a picture from a dangerous location there mandatory evacuation was recommended.
    Also, focus on reporting on those who have been evacuated. Don't 'encourage' those who are choosing to stay when they actually have been provided with safe haven and the means to get there!

  22. If the hurricane sucks up a lot of its water at sea, does this mean it drops salty rain on the land? And does that cause the same sort of problems as (for example) salt water rushing into a river system?

  23. When water evaporates over the ocean to create water vapor that falls as rain, the salt is left behind. This is part of the earth’s water cycle. Any salty water would be due to storm surge flooding from the ocean or flooding of salty estuaries.

  24. Anyone advised to leave who decides to "stick this out" should know this: You're not being heroic, you're stupid as mud.

  25. What would happen if one were to throw the paper towel back at trump?

  26. Can we get a map of the hurricane path overlay onto climate change-denying counties?

  27. This is not the boardwalk on Atlantic Beach. The Oceanana pier and boardwalk is still standing. The Mayor of Atlantic Beach checked it out after the reports.

  28. Why do people not evacuate when told to when hurricanes hit? There are three primary reasons:

    1. They can not afford to leave and have no place to go anyway.

    2. They think that it will not be as bad as forecasters make it out to be.

    And the predominate reason....

    3. When the event is over, government will not let you back into your property.

    It's that last one that is the most frightening.

    Government has no business ever restricting the right to travel freely to get to ones home. They can, for a very limited time, have the authority to restrict entry to residents only. They can warn of the dangers. They can state that they will refuse to rescue. But they should never have the power to stop anyone from going home -- even if home no longer exists.

    It happens time and time again. Sometimes it has been weeks before they will let you go into the area. They may even block your re-entry by using military force if necessary.

    And regardless of how stupid or dangerous or foolish it may be, that is why most people who decide to stay will not evacuate.

    A government that is powerful enough to prevent you from going home is one that has way too much power.

  29. @Steve Crisp...then let them live with the consequences of their decision. You know, the accountability thing and all?

  30. @Steve Crisp - Government employees are the ones who have to put their lives on the line when foolish people do stupid things, they have every right to have a say in what goes on in these situations.

  31. @Steve Crisp - and of course if the power is not exercised a government that your survivors will sue for letting you into a hazardous area.

  32. Stay safe, folks.

  33. And a big round of applause for the star of the show, Mother Nature !

  34. I understand that this is now a Category 2 storm. While the flooding may be a danger, any substantial damage due to winds at this level would seem to require a change in building specifications. AT this speed of wind, major wind damage should not occur.

  35. Actually in myrtle beach there is no building code enforcement and the construction quality of many buildings are flimsy. I was there during a category 1 and flooding did quite a bit of damage

  36. As a veteran of Irma last year, I would not wish the stress of a hurricane on anyone: the churning sky, the relentless howling and battering sounds all night, the ragged landscape, the endless days without power, the discomfort of going without bathing, the heartache of lost or ruined possessions, the ever-present fear of homelessness. My heart goes out to everyone who is hunkered down tonight. The darkness will seem long, but the light will come.

  37. @Greek Goddess- great point. Living through a weather event can produce lots of trauma and even PTSD.

  38. Why isn't anyone paying attention to the fact that the president has taken $10,000,00 the FEMA budget and put it in an account the is for funding the "wall"? Beside the fact that FEMA is going to need every penny for the hurricanes the US just beginning to fight.

  39. It's amazing that people remained to "ride it out" and have the audacity to live-report about it. What a terrible idea. Emergency mandatory evacuations are put in place so that first responders can focus on real emergency protocols and life-saving of individuals that were unable to leave, or did leave and were caught in a bad situation elsewhere...not rescuing those that did not heed the direction. Sorry - don't support the blogging and disobeying there.

  40. @Will Many people don't have the financial means, never mind cars, to evacuate or have family situations with elderly or handicapped members that preclude leaving. I think it would be valuable to report on what's happening to people who chose to evacuate. Maybe interview people who can't find gas or motel vacancies. Or, are stranded, sans funds. I live in the upper Midwest. My wife of forty years has MS and I could not live in these coastal areas because living without AC, even for a few days, is untenable and evacuating would be no picnic either. Because of the factors I listed, I expect a surprisingly high body count when all of this finally gets sorted. Good luck to all.

  41. Do you really think that your wife will be able to survive if a storm hit absent electricity , clean water? Everyone has a reason for resisting a mandatory order but with the notice given you might have looked into help to heed the notice, now the first responders will have to put you and your wife in line to help the able to have reasons for not thinking of you and your situation first. Good luck

  42. Why do NONE of the maps I've seen on various news sites NOT show Raleigh? It's not only the State Capitol of North Carolina, but also in that quadrant of the storm most likely to see excessive rain and damages?

  43. @mikemn Probably because nothing has really happened here yet. The rain has been sporadic. The winds can best be called a strong breeze. And though there are power outages, they all seem to be related to a single point of failure taking out a large swath of area rather than random, massive damage and downed trees. Crabtree and Walnut Creeks are still well below banks, and none of the lakes are stressed yet. Any tornadoes have been well to our east.

    It may get worse as the day wears on, but if Florence starts moving to the south we're gonna miss all the significant bands.

  44. Sadly so very many residents don’t have the financial and emotional means to cope with the evacuation of their homes and personal property. Especially when there maybe no home or property to come back to. A little empathy and understanding might be an appropriate reaction in such uncertain times!

  45. @Angela G - Many of us have been empathetic and understanding for years and we have voted for people who believe in taking action to mitigate such problems.

    It's perfectly normal to feel exasperated when people who vote for climate change deniers and politicians who underfund FEMA turn around and put their hands out for tax payer funded assistance.

  46. American hurricane warnings usually do not show a central pressure. The categorization system is not bad, but it seems a bit vague. For instance, category 3 ranges from 945 to 964 mbar, but 945 and 964 are very different. While the value of a central pressure is just an estimation, that seems to be more accurate to me.

  47. Sympathetic people everywhere wish for the best for those suffering from the more frequent and more severe storms of climate change, like hurricanes Harvey, Florence, and the like.

    But when will the voters of the Southeastern states from the Carolinas through Texas, who bear the brunt of such storms, stop sending to Washington Republican politicians who deny or doubt the existence of human-induced climate change, and are unwilling to take mitigating steps to protect our descendants from these calamities, just in case they are wrong?

  48. @bruce -- not going to happen. That would stop the fleecing of the suckers -- that sadly is a principal economy in a lot of America, though the mechanisms have regional differences.

    In the gulf states the building and development economy runs all the politics -- don't be too surprised or pointed -- the same thing is true in New York City.

    Hurricanes in the gulf states though are just the periodic opportunity for the real players in the economy to harvest a lot more money. A lot of people make a lot of money doing the cleanup and rebuilding. A lot of money comes in from outside: insurance and NFIP and FEMA money.

    Some houses are uninsured and wrecked -- those people are busted out, like people who've lost everything at a casino. In Vegas when that happens, they'll give you a bus ticket out of town -- they don't want to have the new suckers coming in to see you -- bad for business. In the coast states those people become invisible too: mostly living in trailer parks somewhere. And their lots get recycled to get the next sucker.

    Nobody will "stand in the way of business."

  49. Still doubting whether climate change is real. What will it take to wake up the deniers?

  50. Yes hurricanes have always happened. But ones this size with this much water have not. The warming ocean has contributed directly to the monstrosity of Florence.

  51. This is a category 1 on a scale of 1 to 5 so yes much larger storms have occurred. If you notice the curvature of the North Carolina coast, that erosion from millions of hurricanes across the ages. Using anthropomorphic terms like “monstrous,” “God’s wrath” etc. clouds the science. This area of North Carolina is swampy and sparsely populated except for people building summer houses at the shoreline in recent decades. Because hurricanes occur just about every year, people choose to live further inland in the piedmont.

  52. FYI the category number refers to wind speed not size. This storm is hundreds of miles wide and contains vast amounts of water. Superstorm sandy wasn’t even a hurricane but shut down nyc and caused major damage.

  53. I have been watching CNN right now. Hope it’s live reporting. Difficult to believe because it’s 04.19 A.M right now in North Carolina. The reporter in Wilmington, NC was literally shaking. As things stand now situation seems to be pretty bad.

    I hope and pray that there should be no human losses and that everyone will be safe. In the event of property damage, surely it’s going to be too tough for the people to recover since insurance people will find some means not to compensate them at all. I just don’t know how the affected will make it.

  54. Relax every body in the Carolinas.
    Donnie has enough paper towels for every man woman and child.

  55. @Manderine - And "Hurricane Hair".

  56. America in denial: climate change, speculative development in flood plains, electing (especially in hurricane-risk states) a coal-loving, coastal real-estate, fallout-denying, hyperbolic madman to mis-lead the country...

    Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

  57. All those who own second homes and rental properties should realize that the rest of the US taxpayers don’t want to subsidize rebuilding your paradise. The federal flood insurance program is inadequate as are FEMA funds. They should be earmarked for year-round residents. Those who can afford several pieces of real estate should get ready to dig in their own full pockets.

  58. As we focus on the rain from Florence ravaging the southern coast of the U.S. we should also keep in mind the Redding Fire in California which destroyed 1000 homes and killed seven.These two disasters are one of the same problem-global warming which produces more violent weather events.Just this week the EPA wrote regulations to allow more methane to be released into the atmosphere.What is it that legislatures don't get about cause and effect?Enough give always to the coal and oil industries.All other countries have bought into the global warming treaty-Trump got us out-one solution is to vote wisely in November,

  59. California fires are a result of forestry management practices and people living where maybe there shouldn't be houses. The natural state of California's forests is to catch fire every few years, which burns the under brush and opens pine cones. But the state doesn't permit those fired, so the brush builds up until...major fire. Nothing to do with global warming.

  60. It's an issue that also involves legal and financial matters. Suffice to say that, once a piece of land is zoned for development, it is nearly impossible to zone against development without incurring significant compensation costs. If you want more detail, Lucas v South Carolina (the Lucas decision) is helpful.

  61. It killed thousands if in addition to those burned at the site, we also count those whose COPD or heart condition was worsened by smoke, those whose medical treatment was interrupted, and those whose death was quickened by being moved to unfamiliar locations.

  62. Here in the Phoenix area, and in many other communities in Arizona there are dry washes which criss cross through the urban areas. Streets and roads which cross them are usually paved along the bottom of the wash, and as you enter the wash there is usually a big sign, DO NOT ENTER WHEN FLOODED. When flash floods are predicted, the barriers go up across the road, STREET CLOSED.

    Inevitably, someone(s) bypasses a barrier and ends up in the middle of a flash flood, then the driver crawls onto the roof of the vehicle and waits for the helicopters to come to the rescue. Finally,several years ago, people who ignored the barriers are sent a bill for the costs of the rescue.

    What bothers me, and I am a liberal, is the fact that people in the pathway of Florence have been begged, cajoled, and warned to evacuate by the authorities who know what they are talking about. And, yet, they have remained to ride out the hurricane.

    When they call for rescue...fine. I am not so calous to human life as to deny them that privilege. But I feel irked that taxpayer money is being used to rescue people from their own stupidity. where is the accountability for one's own actions and decisions?

  63. @athenasowl San Antonio has billed folks who ignored closed low water crossing for years. I believe we were one of the first cities to do this. We were criticized throughout the nation for taking this step. It worked, instead of dozens of low water rescues doing storms now it just a handful. Folks that decide to ride out storms, what ever the reason, should be advised what the rescue will cost them.

  64. Suppose you are old, poor, no family, and no one has come to check on you? How do you know where the shelters are! How are you to get to one, if you do know? These are the people who will become statistics, and paper towels will be of no use whatever! FEMA should be stepping up before the disaster strikes, not afterward. Old Girl Scout here, plan ahead!

  65. Six years ago, North Carolina Republicans voted in a law decreeing that the seas weren't rising. Well, I m sure prayin ain’t gotta no to help. But Trump got it all covered. No worries!

  66. @Karen B That is absolutely not true. What they did was mandate that the ignorant 100 year projections of utter doom be ignored for insurance rate purposes. They allowed a ten year projection which was more valid for actuarial purposes. Indeed, the short term projections of the UNC study have grossly overhyped the conditions even over the past eight years.

  67. it is trying times for the population. Florence is going to last for a couple of days,with the risk of floods in towns. Nightmarish situation. Are there no storm shelters,where people can go? Storms hit the US at regular intervals. Where will people go? There seems to be unpreparedness to deal with such natural disasters. Long-term solution is the need of the hour.

  68. Hurricane Florence got downgraded to Cat 2 from the potential Cat 4/5, but it can still be disastrous. Let's hope for the best but people need to prepare for the worst.

    Trying not to political but yet one cannot help to see the contradictions showing up in those states. People pray to their Jesus but they entrust their lives to those who are anti-Jesus. Sadly, this is not really the essential meaning of the idea behind "pay to God what is God's and Caesar what is Caesar's."

  69. @Bos
    They definitely miss the point of that advisory.
    I notice that they don't go to God for reparations and grants to rebuild either.

  70. "n 2012, the state whose low-lying coast lies in the path of Hurricane Florence reacted to a prediction of catastrophically rising seas by banning policies based on such forecasts." From a British Guardian newspaper. Read it and be disgusted that a state is allowed to cause this much damage to their state and citizens, and that FEMA has to clean up the mess caused by the state and its governor.

  71. Its former governor did this. The current one did not. He recognizes the value of science.

  72. "...Greenville, N.C., a handsome college town...".

    One ardently hopes Greenville will survive unscathed. But there is really nothing "handsome" about this town.

  73. It's going to be bad...but let's not forget the original forecast was for a Category 4 or 5 storm to hit the coast. Thankfully, many of those who foolishly decided not to evacuate will survive.

  74. First I hope that everyone stays safe and that damage, although inevitable, is minimal. Secondly, I wonder how long it will take the "FAKE" president to deny there was a hurricane.

  75. He will be almost right, the gusts are only 90 miles an hour and the storm is barely a category one.

  76. And who is going to pay to rebuild on the same sites only to be flooded again?

    The American taxpayer.

  77. @David

    The government pays to repair infrastructure, and private insurance covers private losses. The destitute receive charity abd government support.

    In any event, how does Australia deal with the damage up to 100 cm of rain in 24 hours causes? Who paid for the repair of flooded areas near Brisbane not so long ago? Everyone on their own Down Under or does mateship and government support (read: taxpayer) come into play?

  78. Hmm, "the government pays"...just where does that government get the money? Why, yes, from those of us in the blue states who actually PAY our taxes!

  79. So when these storms are so dangerous that they've told everyone to evacuate why do the news outlets feel it's necessary to send people into the midst of it? A mounted camera can show what's going on and less people would be in harm's way just for entertainment purposes. Makes no sense.

  80. What is occurring in North and South Carolina is a call for our generation to face an existential reality. It is a reality based on scientific fact. Here is that reality:

    We are living on the cusp of the possibility of a sixth planetary extinction. High temperatures throughout the planet caused by the emissions of Carbon Dioxide and Methane could have the totality of emissions during the Permian Triassic. This warning goes back to 2012 when the World Bank warned of the possibility of a Methane Hydrate Feedback Loop occurring in the Arctic that would bring on another Permian Triassic kind of planetary extinction event. Even if we can avoid that totality, our legacy to future generations as a result of rising temperatures on the planet will be the death and suffering of billions.

    Any form of discussion must start with our fossil fuel dependency as the major cause of the problem. The only solution is a transnational 100% Death Tax on those in control of the fossil fuel industries.

  81. Please don’t pull punches. The Inland area that may be flooded is the heart of the Bible Belt. It is poor, racially mixed and racially tense and it has been like that forever. Confederate flags fly there and all the problems that go with pervasive poverty and great ignorance. If you flood this area and tens of thousands become homeless overnight, the consequences may be far worse than any caused by standing water.

  82. @michjas

    Racially tense? You must be referring to your average college campus or urban area courtesy of the divisive rhetoric from Leftists and Democrats.

    Most people in rural areas seem to get along well despite the projective ideas from some.

  83. Florence is "fake news." If it were real, Air Force One would be ready to roll, laden with rolls of paper towels. Mike Pence will toss them out, smiling as usual. His boss will be on the links this weekend.

  84. @Soxared, '04, '07, '13 vote for change in November; let trump run off course with a new majority and don't give Pence the chance to take over; experienced Harvey on the ground, my heart goes out to all in the path of Florence; since its on the mainland they might get more than paper towels

  85. Just a quick congratulations to the outstanding superb photography presented in these stories. Bravo to those photographers.

  86. We need to call the FEMA director on his spin. There are countless poor and elderly who stayed put because the government did NOT come to their aid. Now, the same government is tarring and feathering them for not evacuating!


    We don't need to rescue people we safely evacuated! FEMA and others who failed to successfully evacuate the needy dropped the ball before the storm ever hit.

    I'm riding out the storm in Columbia, SC. My prayers are with those in the hurricane's path, against their wills.

  87. @Sarah...Quite frankly I find your comment absurd. Evacuations and the like are the responsibility of the state and local governments. FEMA has a very limited role at that point. If any ball was dropped, lay the blame on your local and state officials, including the one who are elected.

  88. Greenville, NC? There is a Greensboro, NC & a Greenville, SC...Oh, the details!

  89. Not only is there a Greenville, NC, its population is larger than that of Greenville, SC.

  90. @Gailmd- And there is also a Greenville TN

  91. There’s also a St. Petersburg in the Russian republic. Another reason to be concerned about funding of our schools.

  92. Here we go with another natural disaster that affects only the people in that area of the country. This in just another story for the rest of us that go about our business without having to deal with what is currently going on in SC and NC. The story is the same whether it is drought, fire or floods. Reading about it still does not cause enough concern to bring the world together in a unified understanding of the consequences of increased populations coming in contact with climate change. This is the reality. Heading into the future, the human toll will increase with each one of these and that is reality. Survival of the fittest comes to mind as we meet the challenges of climate change.

  93. Florence lost the punch. Thanks to Trump. Otherwise, Florence would have caused countless deaths.

  94. Want to say in advance, especially in light of the utter callousness of the administration, the next few days will include blaming folks who did not evacuate when it was recommended. Some of the folks who did not evacuate are listening to Trump, (and it may cost their lives) and believe that hurricanes are no big deal. But many, many more have stayed behind simply because they are poor. There have been warnings for days that no one should remain in a mobile home, but if you have ever seen Eastern NC and SC, mobile homes are everywhere. It's not like those folks have a sturdy house inland to retreat to.

    So as we start to hear of people calling for rescue when they find themselves in life-threatening conditions, please understand some were just fools. But some were elderly (like one man in a beach community who said he could not move his 77 year old wife who is very frail), didn't have money to drive or get a bus ticket inland, much less a hotel room for the duration of the storm. Yes there are shelters for the poor, and they are being used. But please, let us have some empathy in the days to come. Trump surely will not.

  95. First of all; I am listening to reports already about those too stupid to heed all the warnings to get out needing to be rescued first thing this morning. What is it about some that no matter how badly the danger is; they still never get it. Personally; if I were a first responder; unless they have a medical condition or some real reason they just could not leave; they should be left to their own devices. Why should someone have to risk their lives for fools who had the chance to leave; but did not. Second; how bad do these storms have to get before the flat earth types finally admit the scientists were right all along. But as the saying goes;" You really can`t. fix stupid!" My heart does go out to those who had to leave and may lose everything.

  96. What with floods & hurricanes & landslides & fires, pretty soon the Midwest taxpayers (and their insurance companies) will be subsidizing those who live in precarious places. Time to realize climate change is real & move folks away from coasts & create regs that prevent them from building on hills & mountains in California and in the waterless West,

    My homeowners insurance will surely be going up to pay for this.

  97. Tornados, floods, snowstorms, droughts in the Midwest- the entire country will feel the effects of climate change. We are all in this together.

  98. @Realist And when it floods here in the midwest or we're hit by tornados or the New Madrid fault finally unleashes another earthquake, we'll be glad the costs are shared by taxpayers and insurance company customers.

  99. @Realist The Mississippi River floods just about every year. Last I looked it's in the Midwest. Oh, don't forget the tornadoes.

  100. Mother Nature can be so cruel. It is often the people who can afford to lose the least who are the victims of hurricanes. Many lose the only assets they own and have to start all over. We have seen it before and unfortunately will probably see it after the hurricane subsides.

    Please good people of North Carolina stay safe and know there are people thinking of you at this very sad time. You are in our prayers.

  101. Another Red State disaster that needs federal funds . People of Blue states tired of subsidizing the disaster prone Red Sates, and paying for the mistakes of the president they chose to elect.

    The new tax code for 2019 will make the people of the Blue States pay more in taxes, so we will continue to fund Red States.

    Enough is enough. Blue states need to wake up and fight.

  102. North Carolina is a decidedly purple state that partisan gerrymandering forced "red."

  103. @SC . We are all Americans. We need to help each other. California has received the help of firefighters from Red States, too.

  104. just put your Forest fires out, finish your sandy repairs and fix the california dams that washed out first before talking about red states

  105. There’s so much purple prose and anthropomorphism in these articles that it’s hard to know what’s going on. Can we save “The wrath” and have more facts about what has happened. Less speculation about what “could” happen, fewer pictures where the camera lens is wet, less column inches for meteorologists enjoying their 15 minutes of fame by juicing up the hyperbole. Just the facts, please.

  106. Have any climate change deniers had a change of mind? Do they not understand how warmer waters mean bigger storms, with more water?

    Do they get it yet?

  107. @George Kamburoff No, deniers have not learned. You are ascribing to them a modicum of intelligence they lack. Trying to educate deniers diverts effort from actions that can have a salutary effect.

  108. Why is the NYT following the people who ignored the evacuation orders. This will only encourage more stupid people to risk not only their lives but also the lives of the first responders.

  109. Because, as their coverage points out, a lot of them haven't the money or resources or cars to leave.

  110. Great writing. The word pictures you drew allowed me to both see and feel the unfolding of a tragedy, although I did begin to suffer symptoms of alliterative overdose.

  111. The likely contamination of waterways throughout the Carolinas from an epic "poop storm" thousands of flooded animal waste lagoons, as well as dozens of Superfund sites should bring to mind the reversal of the Obama EPA Waters of the United States rule by the now disgraced and disgraceful Scott Pruitt.

    This carefully researched and balanced rule was intended to protect our rapidly degrading waterways from runoff from agricultural and industrial waste.

    Florence also brings to mind the reversal of Obama era rules on development in floodplains, which caused such epic disaster in the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey.

    Also recall that the anonymous "Resistance" op-ed author praised "effective deregulation".

    So open up your wallets, US taxpayers (OK, not you corporations), the Federal disaster funds will soon be substituted once again for sound forward looking policy.

  112. We have to get back to the old ways: Native Americans never lived on the coasts; they lived inland and went out to coasts to fish. And in certain countries of Latin America, if there is a mandatory evacuation order, the military goes in and rips people out of their houses to put them in shelters. It is considered criminal to ignore mandatory evacuation orders in certain jurisdictions.

  113. It's a little hard to have sympathy for the folks trapped by rising waters. It's all happening just as predicted. Since rescuing the ones who didn't obey the evacuation orders puts the rescuers at risk, I think it would only be fair that they participate in the costs and not expect the taxpayers, particularly the ones who left in time, to foot the bill for their negligence and, pardon, stupidity. What did they think all those scientists and weathermen were for, anyway?

  114. What will become of the people of North and South Carolina? What will be their fate? What's next? I want to know!

  115. They did not think it would be that bad. That says it all. Anybody's tweet or uninformed belief is as valid as science- and fact-based advice, in our era of celebrated ignorantism.

  116. Since when can a "town fear"?