Hurricane Florence

October 5, 2018

Hurricane Florence hit the Carolina coast on September 14, 2018, but it took much longer for the full impact to emerge.

Remotely-sensed images show the slow devastation that 13 trillion gallons of rain can bring as it moves back toward the sea.

Conway, South Carolina saw some of its most severe flooding nearly two weeks after the storm hit. This Landsat 8 image from September 26 shows the Waccamaw and Little Pee Dee rivers swollen on either side of the city.

Conway’s Lake Busbee was drained to wetlands this spring, and the image from August 9 shows streaks of green vegetation feathering through it.

By September, Hurricane Florence refilled the lake. Floodwaters also created a new pond across the lake’s northeast bank in space once occupied by a power plant.

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) imagery ingested through the USGS Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS) offers an even closer view of the area, which is near downtown Conway.

Similar troubles bedeviled other cities across the Carolinas. Georgetown, South Carolina sits at the confluence of four major rivers, and the waters crept higher as the days passed. The water drained into Winyah Bay some two weeks after the storm made landfall, leaving flooded fields and saturated soils along its path.

Goldsboro, North Carolina is about 100 miles from the Atlantic Coast. Imagery from September 18 shows the Neuse River spilling its banks to fill oxbows and overtake parts of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Imagery archived at the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center can be used to monitor disasters and recovery on a wide scale.

Sources: Landsat 8 / Landsat 7