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De-constructing President Trump's Florence speech

Digital writers

Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 5:14 PM - On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump released a video on Twitter, thanking the first responders for helping Hurricane Florence victims.

“This is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water,” he said.

(RELATED: Hurricane Florence updates HERE)

“Rarely have we had an experience like it and it certainly is not good.”

While Twitter had a field day with Trump's "water is wet" comment, he did get some parts of his speech 100 per cent correct.

Here's a closer look.

WHAT HE SAID: "This is a tough hurricane. One of the wettest we've ever seen from the standpoint of water."

ANALYSIS: Florence was indeed a tough hurricane, and while there was a lot of rain (upwards of 900 mm in some places), it wasn't the wettest, not even from the standpoint of water.

Hurricane Harvey holds that distinction after dropping more than 1500 mm of rain in parts of Texas in 2017.

At 900 mm, Florence wouldn't even make the top ten wettest hurricanes to hit the U.S.

WHAT HE SAID: "Rarely have we had an experience like it and it's certainly not good."

(PHOTOS: See the destruction Florence left behind)

ANALYSIS: While most will agree that Hurricane Florence was "not good," the former part of that sentence is a matter of opinion. According to NOAA, an average of three hurricanes cross the U.S. coast every five years. One could argue that's a far stretch from "rarely."

WHAT HE SAID: "But the people of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, all of the areas affected, have been incredible."

ANALYSIS: You'll get no argument from us there. Trump also rightfully thanked FEMA, the US Coast Guard, local law enforcement officials and the military for their incredible efforts. 

WHAT HE SAID: "Florence has been a nasty one. A big one like that area certainly has never seen before.”

ANALYSIS: Florence certainly was a monster of a storm, packing wind gusts up to 145 kilometers per hour. 

But was it the worst the area has ever seen?

That's debatable.

There are a few ways to measure how "bad" a storm is -- from death tolls, to damage costs, to long-term impacts. So far, we know that at least three dozen people died during Hurricane Florence, but we won't know the true extent of the damages for some time.

(Visit our Complete Guide to Fall 2018 for an in depth look at the Fall Forecast, tips to plan for it and a sneak peek at winter)

One thing we do know: This isn't the first major storm to pummel the area.

In 1954, Hurricane Hazel tore through Haiti and North and South Carolina, killing 95 people in the U.S. and as many as 1,000 people in Haiti. The storm boasted wind gusts up to 160 km/h and caused $382 million in damages in US, 1954 dollars.

Trump ends his speech by urging people to heed the advice of officials, with floodwaters still rising.

That's sound advice.

With many homes, businesses and roadways still under water, it could be some time before things return back to normal after Florence.


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