Dead fish lie along I-40 in North Carolina as flood waters receded from Hurricane Florence.
Photo: Penderlea, N.C., Fire Department
Photo: Penderlea, N.C., Fire Department

Dead fish pile up along interstate as Florence floods recede

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, crews in North Carolina are now facing a unique cleanup challenge: dead fish along a highway.

Since flooding overwhelmed many roads, including I-40, many fish were left stranded on the asphalt as waters receded, according to the Penderlea Fire Department in North Carolina.

“Well, we can add ‘washing fish off of the interstate' to the long list of interesting things firefighters get to experience!” the fire department wrote in a Facebook post Saturday.

Photos and video posted by the department showed countless dead fish along the highway, which connects Wilmington and Raleigh. Firefighters used hoses to spray the fish off the road.

According to one Facebook comment, the dead fish created quite a smell on that portion of the interstate.

Commenter Aleksandr Gruzinskaya said the odor was a “horrible decaying flesh smell.”

Floods due to Florence became “catastrophic” and completely shut down major highways in the state. Drone footage posted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation showed I-40 looking more like a river than a highway.

This drove fish out of their natural habitat, isolating them as cleanup began.


The Atlanta Humane Society has taken in nearly 50 animals saved from areas affected by the deadly storm.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.