NOAA: Hurricane Florence one of eleven 'Billion Dollar Disasters' in 2018

(Credit: Patricia Mishoe)

Hurricane Florence joins a group no city nor county wants to be in: a billion dollar disaster.

NOAA reports there have been 11 climate and weather disasters in the U.S. costing more than a billion dollars so far this year.

Hurricane Florence left North Carolina with an estimated $17 billion in damages. In South Carolina, the damages will cost an estimated $607 million, which is much lower the Gov. Henry McMaster's original estimate of more than $1 billion.

The Carolina's are no stranger to costly natural disasters. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew left behind serious damage. When comparing the storms, it depends where you look when it comes to which one hit harder.

In North Myrtle Beach, Hurricane Matthew was a much costlier storm. The city saw more than $20 million in damages to private and public property, while during Florence, the city suffered an estimated $1 million in public and private property.

When it comes to overall costs, Matthew cost the City of North Myrtle Beach an estimated $2.2 million and $663,000 for Florence, according to Public Information Officer Patrick Dowling.

The City of Conway experienced something vastly different.

The city saw about $1.2 million in damages from Hurricane Matthew and an estimated $4 million for Hurricane Florence.

"Matthew was supposed to be the maximum, the be all end all. It was the record setting hurricane and then of course Florence comes around and now we have four more feet of water. That wasn’t supposed to happen," The City Administrator for the City of Conway said.

It's taken a major toll on the community. The clean up process is no where near over, Adam Emrick said.

“Hurricane Matthew the goal was to get things back open as fast as possible. After Hurricane Florence, it’s fixing things the right way and that’s the much more expensive thing," he said.

One thing that was more costly for most places was overtime costs. Hurricane Florence was a slow moving storm and the flooding that followed was catastrophic.

The City of Conway spent more than half a million dollars just in overtime costs. Overall, Hurricane Matthew was more costly for Horry County, but the County spent almost $4 million more during overtime costs for Hurricane Florence, the public information officer for Horry County Gov. said.

“I know folks will remember that it was a prolonged flooding event and we had folks working around the clock here at the county to be sure that we were able to respond to calls. That meant up-staffing our fire department, our police department and making sure our emergency management personnel were available," Kelly Moore said.

Now, it's a change in mind set when it comes to re-building.

“We are looking at doing something now that in 10 years we don’t have to continuously replace and continuously address every time there is a flood. We are now expecting a flood every year. I think that’s the right mindset to have," Emrick said.

It's a storm this community will never forget.

“You go to New Orleans and everyone talks about Katrina, you come here you’re going to talk about Hurricane Florence," Emrick said.

We reached out to all of the counties in our viewing area and are waiting to hear back. Many areas do not have damage cost estimates available yet, this story will be updated as those numbers become available.

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