After two long days — and even longer nights — Down East Carteret County remains thankful that Florence’s wrath has left us more determined than ever to be the community we have always been. Times like these make us who we are.
The damage here is extensive – as it is throughout the southeast region of our great state. From Cedar Island to Harkers Island and throughout Carteret County and beyond, homes are flooded, businesses damaged, cars lost, and families displaced. However, we all continue to be thankful that this storm came as a category 2 and not the category 4 originally predicted. Had it been any stronger, there would be nothing left but ruin.
Damage on Harkers Island has been overwhelming. One lane of the bridge causeway by the boat ramp was washed out; the fishing pier destroyed; and the damage to businesses, homes and our beautiful tree line is heartbreaking.
Throughout Down East, roofs have blown off, buildings demolished and bulkheads severely damaged. Still, we are thankful that we have homes and businesses to repair! And one important note: the commercial fleet at the Island Harbor of Refuge is holding strong, and we are proud and encouraged at the sight of them!
Superintendent Jeff West has, literally, worked all night to protect the NPS and Museum properties. He reported early this morning that the NPS Ferry Marina has suffered significant damage, likely a total loss for this season, and the Park overall has been battered. He will not know the extent of damage on Cape Lookout, Shackleford, Core Banks and Portsmouth until the weather clears and an assessment can be made, and we will let you know. A sad picture is likely.
The Museum building has suffered roof damage, causing leaks throughout the building, but we are thankful that the trees that fell are in the parking lot and the tide stayed out of the building. We have already called our insurance company but there are damages and needs that insurance will not cover. We will be working to identify the repairs and replacements needed over the next several days. We will also schedule a workday soon to clear the yards and cleanup the mess Florence has left behind. We will let you know when that will be. Thank you.
Our first priority now is to help our community. As we did following Isabel in 2003, the CSWM&HC will be working with the Carteret County Public Schools to identify school children and families in need of financial and volunteer help. We will work with classroom teachers, guidance counselors and school personnel to identify those most in need and work to provide help in getting kids back in their homes ready for school and their lives back to normal. CSWM&HC will focus on the schools serving Down East Carteret County (Atlantic, Smyrna, Harkers Island, East Carteret) and the Carteret County Public Schools Foundation will be working with the other schools in the county. Together we will identify, screen and commit 100% of funds designated to community relief to families in need. Again, it will take all of us giving, working and sharing the need to put our communities back together again. Donations may be made to this effort online or checks can be mailed to CSWM&HC, PO Box 556, HI, NC 28531 – ATTN: community & family hurricane relief.
For now, we are anxiously waiting for the rain to stop, the wind to calm and the tide to fall so we can get to work. We cannot do this without you — your time, your help, and your continued support as our people face the days ahead.
Your calls, texts, emails and prayers have been felt throughout the Core Sound family all week long and we would have never made it through last night’s marathon without you. All along we knew that you will be here to help us serve our communities, repair our building and continue being the community institution that we are.
We will pull together an updated report in the next day or so. In the meantime, know that we appreciate all you do for us all the time – especially in times like these!
Weary but determined,
Karen & Crew