TIME

When the Waters Rise

Hurricane Florence pounds the Carolina coast, leaving residents at nature’s mercy
Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence inundate Trenton, N.C., where over 19 in. of rain fell

By the time it started raining across North Carolina early on Sept. 14, the only thing left to do was wait. As Hurricane Florence churned toward the mid-Atlantic coast, federal and state officials told residents that the storm would be exceptionally dangerous. The preparations matched their dire predictions. Authorities ordered evacuations in 17 North Carolina counties, shuttered schools and state parks, and moved more than 3,000 inmates in local prisons out of the hurricane’s path. Locals emptied grocery-store shelves, drained gas supplies and hunkered down in more than 100 emergency shelters set up to house evacuees. State officials mobilized first responders, and

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