Hurricane Florence: Iconic photo; looters arrested despite call for cops to ‘stand down’

Hurricane Florence evacuee Robert Simmons Jr. and his kitten, Survivor, moved people to tears after a News & Observer reporter posted an image them.

Hurricane Florence TheGrio
Dana Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor (L-R) and their dog, Brownie, sit on an evacuation bus as they leave their home ahead of possible flood waters after Hurricane Florence passed through the area on September 16, 2018 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Rain continues to inundate the region causing concern for large scale flooding after Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina and South Carolina area. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As Hurricane Florence, weakened to a tropical depression, continued to pound through the Carolinas Sunday, leaving at least 14 people dead as of the afternoon, the storm and its aftermath reminded people of the good and the bad in the world.

On the good side, one photo of Robert Simmons Jr., a North Carolina man escaping the floodwaters via boat, his kitten, Survivor, on his shoulder, both soaked and appearing weary, went viral. The photographer, a Raleigh News & Observer reporter who took the action shot with his iPhone, engaged on Twitter with members of the public, who praised him for capturing an image that perfectly encapsulated the experience of dealing with the hurricane.

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The photo shows Simmons and his kitten leaving New Bern, N.C., via rescue boat in waist-high water, the News & Observer reported. The pair had to leave Simmons’ father, who didn’t want to abandon his home, and both are wearing expressions that seem to show ruggedness and exhaustion.

Reporter Andrew Carter shot the photo with his iPhone7, according to the news organization.

“Meet Robert Simmons,” Carter posted on Twitter. “Was stuck in his house since last night, when floodwaters began to rise in New Bern. A boat came and rescued him just now. He was sad to leave his father but left with his kitten hugging his neck.”

“This photo has me in tears,” responded @lemonberry32. “Stunning in a way I wish photography never had to be. Praying for him and his father (and the kitty).”

Tweeted @AnyaLogan, “That you captured the haunted look of someone who has been through a hurricane is phenomenal. That you captured that same look in Survivor’s eyes too is astounding.”

In the arena of not so great news to report, ABC11 reports that several dollar stores in the Wilmington, N.C., area were looted in the wake of Florence, which had been downgraded to a tropical depression by Sunday.

On Saturday afternoon, dozens of people picked clean a Family Dollar store in the coastal city, the station reported. Police showed up but a manager asked them to stand down.

And on Saturday night, five people were arrested trying to loot a Dollar General store in Wilmington, according to ABC11.

Florence was expected to push many rivers’ water levels to their highest points ever and also set off landslides, the Washington Post reported.

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