On Fourth Anniversary of Hurricane Florence, NC, is Taking Important Proactive Steps to Protect Against Climate Change

Statement from Will McDow, director for Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds

September 16, 2022
Jacques Hebert, (504) 250-3699, jhebert@edf.org

(RALEIGH, NC – Sept. 14, 2022)  On September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach as a category one hurricane. More than 30 inches of rain fell in parts of eastern North Carolina as the storm hovered over the state in the days following landfall. The damage was significant: 42 fatalities were reported in North Carolina, and damage estimates exceeded $16 billion. 

Following the storm, EDF coordinated with state agencies, local governments and nonprofits to develop a plan and budget to strengthen North Carolina’s resilience to the increasingly damaging effects of climate change. That work, led by NC Rep. John Bell and NC Sen. Jim Perry, culminated in the development of a state budget which allocated approximately $300 million in the 2021 state budget to proactively mitigate flooding, including:

  • $20 million for the Flood Resilience Blueprint to provide local communities with information on flood risks and solutions.
  • $15 million for Land and Water Fund and $3.5 million for Division of Mitigation Services to develop natural infrastructure flood mitigation solutions.
  • $25 million to Goldleaf Foundation and $15 million to Division of Emergency Management to provide capacity and funding for local community’s flood solutions.

“Funding flood mitigation and community resilience before the next storm happens is a first for North Carolina, and the beginning of a more proactive climate action approach in our state,” said Will McDow, EDF’s Senior Director, Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds. “Engaging in pre-disaster mitigation efforts rather than waiting until storms or flooding hit will better protect our communities, infrastructure, and local economies from the human and financial tolls of climate change.” 

“Thanks to the leadership of NC Representative John Bell and NC Senator Jim Perry, North Carolina has a plan and, importantly, the funding to execute on it,” added McDow. “Bell and Perry have been committed since day one, and have a vision for building on these first steps, acknowledging the reality that flood mitigation will need to be a state priority for the foreseeable future to effectively prepare and protect North Carolina from future storms.”

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