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Pollution from Hurricane Florence

Pollution from Hurricane Florence

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, September 21, 2018/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, marine life, sustainability, environment

Water Pollution Flowing from Flooded Farms and Coal-ash Dumps, 9-20-2018 (credit: NASA Aqua Earth-observing Satellite)

Hurricane Florence unleased torrential rains on North and South Carolina and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast. Flooding was extensive and is continuing. According to the National Weather Service, North Carolina received more than 30 inches of rain, representing 8 trillion gallons of water, during the storm. Florence lingered over the region and continued dumping torrential rainfall for days. The unofficial, radar-estimated totals by the National Weather Service indicate the hurricane dropped 8.04 trillion gallons of rain on North Carolina over the past week.

            Hurricane Florence Rainfall Totals for North Carolina, 9-18-2018 (credit: NWS)

Some of the environmental consequences of this massive volume of water flowing from watersheds and rivers is now being observed. Clearly visible in a new satellite image from NASA's Aqua Earth-monitoring program, a toxic mix of stored power plant coal-ash residues and manuer from flooded pig and chicken farms is flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.Numerous news organizations have documented the extent of the flooding and environmental pollution. North Carolina's governor described Florence as being "epic" and reflected on the role climate change played in amplifying the storm's impact. Clean-up and recovery costs are being calculated but likely to run into the billions of dollars for the State and region.



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