Why Hurricane Florence Poses a Threat to Inland, Mountainous Regions of Virginia
By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Hurricane Florence strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane this week, becoming a serious threat to the East Coast. Recent reports state that Florence may become even more powerful and grow into a Category 5 hurricane.
The largest threats remain near the coast and evacuation measures have already begun to take place in areas that are directly in the storm’s path. Many residents who are further inland have considered sheltering in place, because they’re away from the coast and the threat of a storm surge.
While storm surges do not typically threaten inland communities, heavy rain and powerful winds still have a detrimental effect on affected areas, which creates other emergency concerns such as flooding, downed trees, building collapses, power blackouts and serious/lethal injuries to victims. Category 4 storms are very powerful and the effects are particularly far-reaching.
As Florence churns towards the United States, particularly Virginia, emergency management measures will be in place. Individuals will be asked to consider evacuating threatened areas.
But people living in the mountains of Virginia should also take specific precautions for flash floods. There is a historical reason for this caution. In 1969, Hurricane Camille caused unbelievable damage in Nelson County, Virginia.
Hurricane Camille Killed over 150 People in Virginia’s Nelson County
According to Weather Underground weather expert Dr. Jeffrey Masters, Hurricane Camille was a Category 5 hurricane when it hit the Gulf Coast. It managed to gain steam over land and became stronger by the time it entered Nelson County.
Once in Virginia, Camille dumped an estimated 25-30 inches of rain over a period of five hours. Serious flooding and landslides occurred and trees were uprooted. Over 150 residents were left dead or missing in Virginia.
Virginia Residents Should Prepare for Inland Flooding and Landslides From Florence
Just because a place is inland doesn’t mean that a storm won’t negatively affect it. Hurricane Camille taught us that powerful storms over land can gain more steam and create a significant amount of havoc to inland areas.
This doesn’t mean that Hurricane Florence will cause the same kind of damage that Camille did. when it hits. But Virginia residents would be wise to prepare for extensive flooding by developing emergency plans, creating evacuation kits, stockpiling nonperishable food and potable water, and paying attention to broadcasts.