With the potential for Florence's forward speed to slow and possibly stall, a current forecast of feet of rain would lead to catastrophic flash flooding and major river flooding in parts of the Carolinas, southern Virginia and possibly other neighboring states.
As AccuWeather meteorologists have warned about since the middle of the soggy and in some cases record wet summer, any tropical storm or hurricane that moves over saturated ground in the eastern United States during the height of the hurricane season may lead to disastrous flooding.
Brace for flooding on par with Floyd, Joaquin and other hurricanes
Even in lieu of the worst-case scenario, Florence has the potential to join the ranks of the costliest natural disasters in the history of the United States joining Irma, Maria and Harvey in 2017; Sandy in 2012; Katrina in 2005 and Andrew in 1992.
At this time, the most likely scenario is for 1-2 feet of rain with a AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 40 inches centered on portions of the Carolinas from Florence," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
3 Million To Lose Power, Hog Farmers Panic
The worst case scenario for North Carolina, with its 2,100 hog farms and 9 million pigs and hogs, would be to cripple the local hog farming industry. The potential devastation for hog farmers would be a deja vu to what happened after Hurricane Floyd struck in 1999. The result was the destruction of many farms, including flooding, dead livestock and waste leaking into waterways.
Preparations for the worst have been aided by a dry summer which has, in turn, kept waste lagoon levels low. Power is also of the essence, because farmers are at risk of losing livestock if their barns can’t be ventilated.
Smithfield Foods said that it is going out of its way to protect workers and animals at it’s 250 farms that it owns, as well as at the 1500 contract farms it has. Like the others, they are also monitoring and lowering waste levels.
The waste lagoons in North Carolina have often been a point of contention for environmentalists, as there are more than 4,000 of them in the state and they each often hold "millions of gallons" of manure. In 1999, six lagoons saw breaches, which resulted in waste moving into the water supply. The state ended up buying 43 farms, including 100 lagoons that were located in flood planes.
Plan of Action
- Move valuable items out of the basement and first floor onto the second floor.
- Gather important papers and photographs.
- Work-at-home plans may not be an option in some communities where the power goes out or flooding commences.
Finally, be mentally prepared for smelly stench if not outright contaminated water if you live near a pig farm.
Best wishes to those in the path.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock