Florence: The Storm That Changed Our Town

 

I have lived in Eastern North Carolina all of my life. I have been through so many hurricanes that I have lost count. I was in college during one of the most infamous hurricanes in North Carolina history, Hurricane Floyd. I came home for that storm to ‘weather’ it out in a place that I felt safe. None of those storms affected me quite the way Hurricane Florence did.

First, I should note that my family was extremely blessed and did not suffer significant damage in this storm. We had limbs down, a broken fence, and a few day without power. All minor inconveniences compared to what so many in our area are going through.  While we saw water in our driveway (which according to the neighbors is significantly higher than it came with Floyd) many of our friends and neighbors had water in their houses. Not a few drops, not a few inches but feet of water rushing into their homes and destroying everything in its path.

I have always appreciated the day after a hurricane because typically the weather is clear and sunny. In the past, it always seemed that the storms would roll through and then leave this sunny clear day behind it. However, Florence seemed to enjoy our southern hospitality and just did not want to leave. One news channel called it a flood of Biblical proportions and while it certainly did not flood the whole Earth it was beginning to feel like 40 days and 40 nights.  The wind was not nearly as bad as other hurricanes I have been through but the rain and a significant storm surge caused a great deal of flooding throughout our county and the counties around us.

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In Hurricane Floyd I was only able to stay home for a few days after the storm before flying (because the roads were closed due to flooding) back to college to continue my classes. I remember feeling like I was stuck in between two worlds. At home, everything was different but at college, not much had changed because of the storm. With this storm I have been here in my community since the storm. In the days just after the storm there were curfews and road closures, so we stayed close to home and helped out neighbors as best we could. Once the roads were opened and our electricity restored we ventured out to our church to begin helping their recovery efforts.

It has been my privilege to help feed and provide for the many teams of people that have come from various towns and even other states to help our church serve our community. I have seen both our own people and these teams work tirelessly to help people sort through flooded belongings, tear out flooded drywall and flooring, and be there to support them however we could. We have done very little formal schoolwork during this time but my children have learned so much about serving and being the hand and feet of Jesus to a hurting and devastated community.

I’m not sure what the future holds, I’m not sure how long we will go on serving and when things will start to go back to normal or at least a ‘new normal’ as our community may be forever changed by this storm. I do know that our community needs your prayers. So many people lost so much. There are thousands of people whose homes were destroyed, school and businesses destroyed, churches flooded, and lives forever changed. I have been and will continue to try to keep up with my blogging and the posts that I have scheduled, but I ask for your patience and understanding during this time. There are so many needs to be met and we feel that we should focus on helping where we can, knowing that the schoolwork will still be there when things settle down a bit.

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For those of you that were affected by this storm, know that I am praying for you. For those of you that are not in the area I am including some links below to various pictures and news articles about the storm. If you have never been through a flood of this magnitude it is really difficult to imagine the devastation that it leaves in its wake. I ask that you pray for our area and the counties around us as we pick up the pieces and move forward.

Before and After Pictures

Flooding

The Aftermath

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