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Report: Hurricane Florence killed 22, caused $24B in damage

May 4, 2019

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Florence killed 22 people across three Southeastern states, was the ninth most destructive storm in terms of property damage in U.S. history and spawned 44 tornadoes, a report from the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

The report described Florence as “a long-lived, category 4 hurricane” which was named on Aug. 31 and lingered until Sept. 17. The hurricane made landfall along the southeastern coast of North Carolina as a Category 1 storm.

Fifteen people were killed in North Carolina, the report said, with 11 of those dying because of flooding. Four people were killed in South Carolina, all from flooding. In each instance, people either drove into floodwaters or were swept off the road by floodwaters.

Three people died in Virginia as a direct result of the storm, two of them from flooding, the report said.

In addition to the 22 storm-related deaths, the report said, the storm was responsible for 30 indirect fatalities, including 25 in North Carolina. Indirect deaths are classified as those resulting from heart attacks, house fires, electrocutions and traffic accidents.

Of the tornadoes caused by Florence, the report said an EF-2 in Chesterfield County, Virginia, on Sept. 17 caused significant structure damage. One building collapsed, killing a man inside.

In all, Florence made an impact on four states. Damage from Florence was estimated at $24 billion. North Carolina bore the brunt of that total, with an estimated $22 billion in damage. Another $2 billion in damage was recorded in South Carolina and $200 million in Virginia. Florence had weakened significantly and was little more than a tropical storm when it passed near the Georgia border with South Carolina. As a result, damage in Georgia was estimated at $30 million.

According to the report, the storm left 1.1 million residents without power, all but 100,000 in North Carolina.

Among other findings, the report said Florence produced rainfall exceeding 10 inches (25 centimeters) across parts of North Carolina and South Carolina. Some totals exceeded 20 inches (50 centimeters) from the North Carolina-South Carolina border east to southeastern North Carolina. The slow forward speed of the storm created persistent rain bands over the area, leading to almost 36 inches (90 centimeters) of rain near Elizabethtown, shattering the record of 24.06 inches (61.11 centimeters) in Southport during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

In South Carolina, 23.93 inches (60.78 centimeters) of rain was recorded at Loris, beating the previous record of 17.45 inches (44.32 centimeters) near Lake Jocassee when Tropical Storm Beryl soaked the state in 1994.

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This story has been corrected to show that Hurricane Florence caused $22 billion in damage in North Carolina, not $22 million.

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