hurricanes

Florence's floods claim more lives, as pollution concerns mount

Flooding from Hurricane Florence is seen in Lumberton, NC on September 17, 2018.
Flooding from Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, NC. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Hurricane Florence's rains have finally left the Carolinas, but the risks there are growing with rising rivers.

The big picture: Florence's death toll had risen to nearly 40 by Wednesday, with the storm shattering rainfall records in the Carolinas and ranking as an event that had less than a 0.1% chance of occurring in any given year. (In other words, this was a 1,000-year event for many.) Floodwaters have breached at least two storage facilities for coal ash, and hog farms that dot the landscape of eastern North Carolina are reportedly leaking waste into floodwaters.

Florence's floodwaters rise even as rainfall exits Carolinas

Hurricane Florence leaves behind severe flooding in Latta, South Carolina.
Parts of a South Carolina neighborhood are flooded from Hurricane Florence. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

After record-shattering rainfall from Hurricane Florence, rivers in North Carolina are continuing to rise to never-before-seen levels, inundating entire communities and prompting thousands to hastily evacuate. At least 23 people have perished in the storm and its aftermath so far, and this number is likely to rise.

The big picture: Florence, along with Hurricane Harvey that struck Texas last year, has finally confirmed that measuring a hurricane's intensity based solely on its winds is misleading at best. Florence, for example, set all-time rainfall records for any tropical storm or hurricane in North and South Carolina, and it has sent many rivers rising to record levels.