Interstate 40 in North Carolina was covered in thousands of dead fish after Hurricane Florence caused severe flooding throughout the state.
Firefighters began clearing the road of fish carcasses last week, using fire hoses to spray the bodies into the roadside ditch. (RELATED: Woman Who Saved Dozens Of Animals From Hurricane Florence Arrested For Not Having Appropriate Licenses)
— USA TODAY Video (@usatodayvideo) September 23, 2018
“Well, we can add ‘washing fish off of the interstate’ to the long list of interesting things firefighters get to experience!” Penderlea Fire Department (PFD) posted to Facebook Saturday. “This is on a stretch of I40 in Pender County North Carolina near Wallace. Hurricane Florence caused massive flooding in our area and allowed the fish to travel far from their natural habitat, stranding them on the interstate when waters receded.”
“When we pulled up on it, it almost looked like a mirage,” PFD volunteer firefighter Samantha Hardison told The Washington Post. “You knew something was on the road, but you couldn’t tell until you pulled up on it.”
“There were thousands,” Hardison said.
The highway reeked of rotting fish and the smell clung to the clothing and vehicles of firefighters and others that worked to help clear the road. Many of the fish had lay baking in the heat for more than a day and had burst open from the heat, a PFD spokesperson told Time.
As Florence’s floodwaters begin to recede, cleanup operations across North Carolina and South Carolina are ramping up. The hurricane damaged or destroyed thousands of structures and killed at least 44 people. South Carolina alone may need more than $1 billion in federal aid.
Severe flooding has caused a number of possible environmental crisis, including leaks from coal ash dumps and hog waste lagoons. Coal ash is waste left over from burned coal and contains toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and selenium.
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