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CoastLine: Hurricane Florence 6 Months Later

WHQR Public Radio
Hurricane Florence Satellite Image

Hurricane Florence hit the Cape Fear region September 14, 2018.   She made landfall with significantly lower wind speeds than originally predicted -- as a Category 1 – but she had expanded in size and slowed down, which meant torrential rainfall over the Carolinas along with hurricane and tropical storm force winds.  

Florence knocked out power to most people, and with the massive flooding, managed to cut off the Cape Fear region for several days from outside assistance.    

It’s a type of storm that experts say southeastern North Carolinians should prepare for – as there will be more of that kind of weather.

One local resident and business owner unexpectedly found herself, with help from her family, organizing a community effort to provide food, water, diapers, and other necessities after the storm.  Rachel Bodkin-Fox owns the restaurant The Foxes Boxes, with her husband, on North 4th Street near the Brooklyn Arts Center.  The couple decided to shelter during the storm in their restaurant – as it was a sturdier building in downtown Wilmington.  They had no idea that after the storm, they’d see people in need wandering the streets.  

Florence was a different kind of storm.  While she hit the region as a Category 1, wind speeds considerably lower than initially anticipated, she was large and slow-moving, which led to more flooding and power outages, and she managed to cut off the region from outside assistance for days. 

According to the National Weather Service, by September 16th, Wilmington had recorded more rain from Florence than any other single weather event in the city's history.  Florence also contributed to the wettest year in Wilmington history. 

On this edition of CoastLine, we take a closer look at how well this region prepared, whether it communicated effectively, and if residents had access to necessities and much-needed services after the storm.  

Segment 1:

Rachel Bodkin-Fox, Owner, The Foxes Boxes

Segments 2 & 3:

Chris Coudriet, New Hanover County Manager

Paul Stavovy, Chair, Cape Fear Housing Coalition; Executive Director, Cape Fear Community Land Trust


Affordable rentals in Wilmington, NC:  


Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.