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Rail company blamed for Hurricane Florence flooding in North Carolina town

People who live on the south side of town say they know where most of the flooding came from during Hurricane Matthew in 2016: a railroad underpass that intersects Interstate 95.
The underpass lets the railroad tracks owned by CSX run straight through the town's protective levees, and locals knew water would rush through there again once Hurricane Florence bore down on this region of North Carolina’s Inner Banks, because nothing had been done to stop it.

Flood Destroyed Everything in South Florence


Town leaders have long wanted a permanent solution, such as a floodgate at the underpass, which a study released in May concluded would save about 2,000 buildings and $232.6 million for a Matthew-equivalent flood — a more than 80 percent reduction in damage. Florence News
Last week, with Hurricane Florence approaching, local officials hoped to at least cover the hole in their levee system with a temporary berm — a raised barrier built of sand and rock — before the storm.
The problem, according to local officials, was that CSX would not allow anyone on to their property to build it, despite Florence’s dire trajectory.
“We’re talking about a company that placed life in danger placed millions of dollars of personal property of individuals in danger to protect their own interests” said state Sen. Danny Britt, a Republican. “Hopefully this is something that finally gets CSX off its ass.”
A CSX spokeswoman, Laura Phelps, acknowledged that Lumberton officials had approached the company about building the temporary berm, but she said the line needed to remain open to move hazardous materials out of the flood zone. Florence Medical News

Italy Government Rescue People in South Florence


"As we prioritize those shipments for the safety of the community and make sure there’s nothing in the path of the storm, we’re also balancing requests of bringing equipment in," she said. "We had a request from the National Guard to transport rescue vehicles into the local bases. We're balancing all of that."
It was only on Friday morning of last week, with an order in hand from Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, that Britt was able to organize more than 50 people via Facebook to fill sandbags and build a berm. Florence Political News
Members of the National Guard and government workers from the area chipped in to help, moving more than 5,000 wet sandbags and rocks as they were buffeted by tropical storm winds and pelted by rain. Florence Distribution Services

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