Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Damage to rural areas in the East shows hurricane preparation and coverage were not exaggerated

Following Hurricane Irene, many in mildly affected East Coast cities wondered whether officials over-prepared the public, and some journalists said the story was over-hyped, but the damage in rural communities tells a different story, Curtis Tate and Kate Howard of McClatchy Newspapers report. Many rural communities will need federal assistance to rebuild. Twelve states have reported damage, and at least 40 deaths have been confirmed. (News & Observer photo by Chris Seward)

"Struggling with post-Irene problems can be especially trying for rural towns," reports The Day of New London, Conn. Irene brought as much as a foot of rain to upstate New York and Vermont, destroying roads and bridges and damaging homes and businesses. The Vermont Transportation Agency reported 30 state highway bridges and 260 state and town roads were closed due to flooding, Terri Hallenbeck and Matt Ryan of the Burlington Free Press report. "It's not going to surprise me to learn that they may have lost a school or a water treatment facility," Jeff Finkle, the president of the Washington-based International Economic Development Council, told McClatchy. Those are things that FEMA needs to help replace." (Read more)

Irene washed away a section of NC 12 (above), in Rodanthe, N.C., a major thoroughfare for tourism on the Outer Banks, and destroyed fields of tobacco, corn, cotton and other crops ready for harvest, Tate and Howard report. Ray Boswell, a tobacco farmer in Selma, N.C., whose 200 acres of crops were damaged told McClatchy, "In eastern North Carolina, there's not going to be much tobacco left." Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said after a tour, "A corn crop that was probably on its way to being a bumper crop in North Carolina totally destroyed. A cotton crop that was in the process of being a very, very, good, solid crop was on the ground." For more from Brownfield Network, click here.

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