We aren’t talking about Florence, Italy are we? Nope, Hurricane Florence is what’s on everyone’s minds, at least it has been for the past couple of weeks. Even though now we may be seeing the tail-end of the catastrophic storm, there’s no saying that the violent winds and surging water levels didn’t leave a lasting indent to nearby residents.

It has been reported that Florence started out from West Africa at the end of August and slowly acquired the wind speed to become categorized as a Category 4 hurricane by the beginning few days of September. As days passed by, the storm lost its almost 140-mph (miles per hour) wind speeds to shift into a Category 1 hurricane. Despite this slow transition, the regard for this storm continued.

As the storm neared the Carolina coastline, it stalled for a short period before slowing more as it moved inwards. By this time, two weeks into September, Florence starts making its first contact with homes and neighborhoods being deemed as a tropical storm. Now moving at a slower pace, this allows the winds to essentially ‘dump’ large amounts of water continuously in certain areas.

Putting millions out of their homes and businesses, federal officials ordered an immediate evacuation. This was a quick consideration in hopes of a minimal death toll due to all the inherent flooding that was to occur in the coming days. Shortly after, the speed of the storm moved to 2-3 mph making it impossible to withstand the pressure of the weather system for the risk-takers that wanted to ‘wait it out’.

With all the accustomed rainfall, many places received record-breaking amounts of rain. So much so, that some primary highways out of the Carolina’s were impassible for several days after the passing of Florence. Additionally, when the water levels started to recede, countless dead fish were found lying over the highways: just one of the many indications of the severity of this storm.

When ranked on a scale of the costliest Atlantic hurricanes in history, Hurricane Florence slides in comfortably to take the sixth spot. Among the top spots are unforgettable hurricanes like Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey to name a few. Damages that have risen due to freshwater flooding have maxed out at a little less than $38 billion USD. Majority of the costs are associated with damaged homes and businesses in the nearby Carolina areas that endured massive flooding.

Looking back now, Hurricane Florence may seem over to us because it has passed, but, it adds itself to the growing list of 2018 Atlantic hurricane season storms. This period supposedly started in June 2018 and is called to end in late November of 2018. Now more than ever, we are beginning to see all sorts of natural disasters. Here, many argue that the human alteration of the atmosphere and overall global climate could very well be a significant contributor to such an increase over the last couple of years.

Since the start of the season, there have been a total of 12 recorded storms. The reason you aren’t hearing about them on national television is that they aren’t quite destructive as you might imagine. Some storms dissipate before they get a chance to reach land; however, they are still essential to record and study in the massive scheme of environmental sciences. With many aspects of nature and the environment to explore and analyze, small details add to the larger picture of our understanding of the world in which we live.

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