Case Study- Hurricane Floyd – Blake

Hurricane Floyd was a  category 4 hurricane that threatened the East Coast of the United States in September 1999. Floyd did not make landfall until it was a Category 2 hurricane and impacted Eastern North Carolina on September 16th, 1999. Eastern North Carolina was significantly impacted by flooding as Floyd passed through, dropping up more than 12 to 16 inches of rain to an already saturated areas.

Public Awareness: The citizens of Eastern North Carolina are no strangers to Hurricanes. Between 1851-2015, 290 hurricanes of different categories have impacted the Eastern United States from Texas to Maine. Eastern North Carolina has extensive evacuation routes throughout the area and prepare by boarding up homes to prevent damage and placing sandbags for flooding. The sense of urgency was significant throughout the east coast with a record amount of evacuees, however, the sense of the residences in Eastern North Carolina was the “ride it out” mentality. The hardest hit areas of Eastern North Carolina have a 21% poverty rate, with 46% of private residences lacking home insurance.

Emergency Phase: Numerous rivers throughout the area exceeded the 500-yeah flood state impacting 2.1 million people. The death toll from Floyd, primarily due to flooding, was 52 causalities with more than 1,400 swift-water evacuations performed by the US Coast Guard, other military aide, and North Carolina Marine Fisheries. More than 20,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and a rough estimate of 12,000 businesses were recorded as well.

Restoration Phase: Following Floyd’s destruction, sources show that even up to a  year after Floyd, restoration was still occurring. Flooding was the primary cause of deaths and damage to this area. Roads and bridges were washed out, and some dams were damaged, needing minor restoration. This area is primarily used for agriculture and livestock, which is the main source of income for the citizens. The total damage amount for agriculture and livestock loss was $812.6 million. Local water ways and drinking water were polluted from runoff and deceased animals. There is no clear timeline of the restoration phase, however, a map shows flooding still affecting the area up to 13 days later. Roughly 75% of the restoration income came from FEMA for debris removal and emergency response.

Reconstruction: Nearly 1,500 applications were submitted for disaster unemployment, totally $1.9 million. The total disaster cost announced by FEMA  a year later was $6.9 billion. Reconstruction was first focused on the road ways and demolishing unstable infrastructure. Until the flood waters subsided, local polluted drinking water that impacted much of lower-income residence was a primary focus. Population maps throughout this area show different increase and decrease in amount following 1999 into 2000. This is unclear if the changes were a primary factor post Floyd.

Awareness Post Hurricane Floyd: As stated above, this area is prone to hurricanes and have regular threats from this type of disaster. Enhanced mitigation efforts on a state and local community level were researched and conducted following Floyd’s devastation. Education was used to educate the citizens on how to prevent damage and to understand even a “minor” threat could have tremendous impacts socially and economically. My research that I conducted however did not include much new preparation for another event just how mitigation tactics through education and rebuilding was being conducted.


2 thoughts on “Case Study- Hurricane Floyd – Blake

  1. Reading about the devastation caused by Hurricane Floyd has further proven the fact that linkages exist between natural hazards. The subsequent flooding that occurred as a result of excessive precipitation during the hurricane shows that prior knowledge of and monitoring an impending storm is critical to implementing proper mitigation measures to minimize risk and hazards. The death toll and damage caused by the flooding is extensive and may have been reduced by more swift evacuations. Water contamination is another major implication of flooding that you mentioned impacted the lower income residents of North Carolina. Since the state is located on the coast, a heightened emergency preparedness plan is critical to maximize safety should a natural disaster strike again.

  2. It always amazes the capacity of people to be completely aware of the danger of something–as is apparent here with North Carolina having been the recipient of countless hurricanes over the last one hundred years–and yet still refuse to admit it or even take action to prevent themselves from being exposed to it. This particular hazard just goes to show that the basic principle stating “humans can turn disasters into catastrophes” is absolutely accurate. I thought this was an interesting case and one that is particular applicable to where we go to school, while not on the coast, Virginia is a coastal state and is often directly in the path of an oncoming hurricane.

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