Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief
On Friday September 14th, Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. ServiceMaster Recovery Management (SRM) was strategically positioned ahead of Hurricane Florence’s landfall to promptly respond to affected areas after the storm past. Hurricane Florence caused an estimated $17.9 billion worth of damage to the Carolinas making it one of the 10 most expensive storms in U.S. History.
The tropical wave that became Hurricane Florence originally formed off the coast of Africa on August 31st. Over the next 2 weeks Hurricane Florence impacted Cape Verde and Bermuda on it’s way to the United States. Hurricane Florence reached its peak strength on September 10th when it became a Category 4 hurricane for a short period of time. During its time as a Category 4, Florence had sustained winds as high as 140 mph. Meteorologists at the time were predicting landfall as a major hurricane and had issued mandatory evacuations for much of the North and South Carolina coast.
On September 8th, North Carolina governor, Roy Cooper, issued a state of emergency before the Hurricane made landfall. This rare decision allowed farmers to waive transportation laws to move as much livestock and crops out of the area as possible before Florence hit.
SRM’s Disaster Operations Center was monitoring Hurricane Florence well before landfall and communicating forecast projections to the SRM Mobile Command Centers as they were en-route to North Carolina. With equipment and resources staged in multiple areas across the region, the ServiceMaster Recovery Management team was ready to respond and begin assessing the damage of our client’s locations immediately after the storm had past. When damage was identified SRM would move equipment and resources to immediately start emergency service.
Once Florence made landfall, the storm system stalled over North Carolina as it continued to pull tropical moisture from the Atlantic ocean and poured flooding rain across the entire state. It is estimated North Carolina received over 9 trillion gallons of water during this event. Isolated areas received upwards of 36 inches of rain, shattering the previous rain record set during Hurricane Floyd (1999).
Flooding across North Carolina was catastrophic. NOAA and the National Weather Service reported prolonged river flooding with over a dozen rivers in major flood stage. Many of those didn’t crest until over a week after Florence had left the area. The secondary damages did not end there. The National Weather Service reported that Hurricane Florence was also responsible for the formation of 16 tornadoes that resulted in casualties in North Carolina and Virginia. By October 2nd the official death toll had risen to 53, with 30 deaths being directly caused by the storm.
School closures occurred in 26 South Carolina counties, and major college football games and other events were postponed. As closures and evacuations were ongoing, ServiceMaster DSI was able make an impact across the state with recovery efforts. SRM responded to over 40 commercial properties in a dozen different North Carolina cities.
These recovery projects were spread across a variety of different commercial sectors including university living, senior living, health care, hospitality, municipality, and big box retailers. All of these locations were affected by either flooding rain, flooding rivers and tropical force winds across the state. SRM provided site stabilization services, secure each property before providing water mitigation services. Many location lost power and ServiceMaster Recovery Management was able to secure temporary power. Due to the severity of of Hurricane Florence, recovery efforts are still ongoing over 3 months later. ServiceMaster Recovery Management continues to work with affected businesses across the state to help them reopen their doors.
Ensure that your commercial property is prepared for a disaster by signing up for ServiceMaster DSI’s pre-loss planning. ServiceMaster DSI’s priority is to ensure that your facility is prepared for any catastrophe, as well as your safety and well being. Call us today at our emergency hotline number: 1(844) 413-3130 or request a form online for more information.