Dear Core Sound Family,
Today has been a day of reckoning in many ways as we are realizing where we are in this saga and what we need to do. It has also been a day of thanksgiving that our challenges will be overcome with help from folks who love Down East and care about us. Sometimes we have to be reminded...
We are also learning, even with limited connections to the news, of the devastation of our neighbors all around us and our hearts go out to them too. We know we are not alone
Many of you have given to the relief efforts and we are encouraged by your gifts. Others are asking what they can do and we are working with community leaders to get an assessment of who needs what so that we can help coordinate volunteers with needs. As soon as we know we will put out the call. Right now roads coming this way are impassable but hopefully by the time we have our needs list folks can get here to help. We will work through it - together!
Thank you again for caring! Your calls, texts, emails and concern help in ways that are hard to explain.
See below for a recap covering all of Down East from JJ Smith.
Karen & Crew
BY J.J. SMITH
DOWN EAST — Down East residents are once again picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and preparing to recover from another devastating hurricane.
For the third time this century – following Isabel in 2003 and Irene in 2011 – those east of Beaufort have taken a punch in the gut thanks to Florence.
Significant flooding and heavy winds and rain took their toll on the communities during Thursday and Friday. Roads were under water and numerous trees were down in yards and hanging on power lines. Homes were missing shingles and some were heavily damaged. Other property was also lost.
Words like “hell,” “nightmare” and “war zone” were shared by those who lived through the last 48 hours to describe their circumstances.
“It’s the worst storm I have weathered in 43 years,” said Kathryn Smith Chadwick, a Stacy resident. “The flooding is worse than Isabel. We need prayers for the people.”
Ms. Chadwick was one of many who claimed Florence was at least as bad, if not worse than Isabel and Irene, both of which destroyed many Down East dwellings.
Homes along the Loop Road and on Hwy 70 in Stacy were surrounded by water.
It didn’t make them unique in the area.
Parts of Cedar Island, Sea Level, Davis, Williston and other towns stood under water.
Residents of Cedar Island said the storm surge there was 6.5 feet. It was 8 feet in Isabel, according to those there.
Parts of Hwy 12 were underwater leading to Cedar Island, as were parts of Hwy 70 near the North River Bridge leading out of Bettie.
According to the National Weather Service, there was a 98 mph wind gust in Davis and an 89 mph wind gust at Cedar Island.
The Down East Fire Department in Sea Level sustained 2.5 feet of flooding.
“It’s been a long 24 hours and we still have a while to go,” firefighter-EMT Loni Doshier said. “As of right now, we can confirm one house has a tree through it. There is lots of debris and water at this time. You can’t access some side roads due to flooding.”
Those residents who ventured out took pause at the Oyster Creek Bridge, leading out of Stacy and into Davis, due to a downed power pole and lines hovering across the road.
Much of Davis was flooded. Hwy 70 through Williston was covered in pine straw, tree limbs, boats and even household appliances.
The westbound lane of Harkers Island Road leading away from the bridge was completely washed out. The N.C. Department of Transportation was aware of the situation and planning on attending to the road as soon as possible, according to officials with Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Harkers Island, like many others, was particularly hard hit.
“We have lived here 34 years and this is the most water we have ever had in our yard,” April Lilley said. “It was absolutely horrible. There are four homes that I know of on the island that are no longer livable.”
Sheila Moore of Bayview Drive owned one of those homes.
“It’s a total loss,” said her daughter, Shelley Garner. “All the rooms are covered with sheet rock and insulation.”
Ms. Moore’s home lost all of its shingles and the leaks led to the ceiling collapsing and dropping water all over the inside of the house. She dropped her wind insurance a couple of years ago because it was too expensive, so she’ll face the rebuild without insurance.
“There are many other similar stories,” Ms. Lilley said. “We have been in a fight with nature and she has given us three big punches that will take a long time to overcome. It is a life-changing event.”