Hurricane Florence may not have maintained its full intensity as it made landfall in North Carolina on Friday but it still caused costly and catastrophic damage due to heavy rains and the associated flooding.
It could be quite some time before conditions return to normal after the rains stop and there will be a good deal of blaming the entire storm on President Trump like the Washington Post did last week but all of the cheap political hollering is a serious disservice to those whose lives have been disrupted by the year’s worst storm.
According to CBS:
- At least 32 people have died in storm-related incidents — 25 in North Carolina, 6 in South Carolina and 1 in Virginia
- About 500,000 homes and businesses are still without power, mostly in North Carolina but some in South Carolina
- As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, Florence was a post-tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 25 mph, the National Hurricane Center said
- The National Weather Service says, “Florence will continue to weaken while it accelerates northeastward across the Mid-Atlantic and New England through Tuesday. Heavy rainfall remains possible in the Northeast states. In the wake of Florence, prolific river flooding will remain a long term concern in parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia”
- The Cape Fear River is set to crest at 62 feet Tuesday
- Nearly 36 inches of rain has fallen over Elizabethtown, North Carolina, reports CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN-TV. Other towns have seen roughly 30 inches since Thursday
There is also another problem and it’s a nasty one: PIG SHIT!
The Tarheel state is the home of some of the nation’s largest industrialized pig farms and with all of those animals there is a shitload of feces which flows into giant lagoons of which the stench can be detected from miles away.
Rising waters have led to the overflowing of these manmade repositories of pig shit and now in addition to the storm damage and flooding, North Carolinians now also have to deal with a nightmarish biohazard.
— Cardiff Business News & Events (@CardiffBizTweet) September 18, 2018
Via Bloomberg, “Swine Waste Swirls Into Carolina’s Floods, Threatening Humans”:
Hurricane-wracked North Carolina faced a health and environmental crisis after at least nine hog-waste lagoons were compromised and sewage plants across the state flooded, releasing millions of gallons of partially treated human discharge.
On an aerial tour Monday of a swath of swine country — the dozen top hog-producing counties cover an area the size of New Jersey — many lagoons appeared intact. Roughly the size of a soccer field, they are blue-green or red, thanks to bacteria that break down the feces and urine. Several, though, were swamped with water from the torrential rains and creeks that had burst from their banks.
After the storm came increasing worries that floodwater suffused with feces and the corpses of livestock could carry disease.
North Carolina is home to more swine than any state besides Iowa — 9 million of them, more hogs than New York City has humans. The farms are concentrated in its eastern counties, a world away from Charlotte’s bank towers and the Research Triangle’s universities. The sparsely populated land is regularly punctuated by low-lying barns that hold hundreds of pigs that can weigh close to 300 pounds. Many are reared on contract for companies including Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s biggest pork processor, which is owned by Hong Kong’s WH Group Ltd.
The average pig produces about three to four times the amount of organic waste as a human each day, according to Daniel Andersen, an Iowa State University assistant professor who studies manure management and water quality. It’s pumped into lined earthen pits, seasoned with bacteria to break it down and sprayed on fields as fertilizer.
The state has about 4,000 such lagoons, Governor Roy Cooper said Sunday. Noisome, often swarming with flies and blamed for polluting groundwater, they have been the subject of litigation and a moratorium by the state.
So far, there have been two confirmed breaches of lagoons, including a site in Duplin County that contains more than 300,000 cubic yards of waste and is a “total loss,” said Megan Thorpe, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. Seven other sites had discharges, four were completely flooded, and 14 others were close to overflowing.
Pardon the pun, but HOLY CRAP!