- North Carolina's Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City will stay closed to customers longer than expected to recover from damage caused by Florence, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.
- Employees will return to the two ports Thursday, but vessel operations will likely not resume until "the end of this week," and truck operations will resume Monday, according to an update from the North Carolina Ports Authority (NCPA) sent out via email Tuesday afternoon.
- "Initial assessments indicate damage at both locations to warehouse and other structures, as well as a significant number of downed empty containers to be cleared. All major infrastructure, including gantry cranes, at both locations, have been assessed and weathered the storm with no damage," said the update.
Though the Cape Fear River just crested overnight Tuesday, providing evidence that Florence still is and will remain a danger to the Southeast for days and weeks to come, the immediate threat to most ports in her path has passed. The ports of Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina all opened Monday and according to the NCPA, recovery at Wilmington is underway.
The good news is that the effect on the overall U.S. economy is likely to be fairly small, according to economists.
Moody's reports that Florence may contract economic growth by just one or two-tenths of 1%, reported USA Today. Moody's current assessment puts the damage at $16 to $20 billion, but the flood waters have largely not yet begun to recede. Oxford Economics estimate is more dire, valuing the damage at $30 to $40 billion.
The main industries in the affected areas are agriculture, textiles and manufacturing so the damage to the overall economy will likely be less significant than Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which hit the center of the U.S. energy industry in Houston, Texas, according to Moody's.
Retail, manufacturing and North Carolina's burgeoning biotech sector will likely take a temporary hit, but analysts expect a quick bounce-back, especially with peak retail season on its way.