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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hurricane Matthew and North Carolina Storm Surge

Only one week ago I wrote an article about evacuating pets and emergency supplies. Little did I know the drama that would engulf my region when I wrote it.

I live in Lumberton, nestled in the southeast corner of North Carolina about one hour from North Myrtle Beach, SC and one hour due west from Wilmington, NC. Hurricane Matthew’s path came closer to shore than expected. Power went out last Saturday and during the height of the storm, countless trees came down on power lines and blocking roads.


During the night—after the storm had passed—people all over this region were awakened by the sound of water rushing into their homes. The storm surge—water pushed in from the ocean by the strong hurricane-force winds—was pushed upstream into rivers that were already swollen from record rainfall the month before.

If you've read my Black Swamp Mysteries series or Ryan O'Clery Mysteries, you know the Lumber River cuts right through the heart of town. The flood has completely submerged the water treatment facility so residents are without water for the foreseeable future (possibly four more weeks), but more importantly, it became a life or death situation for thousands of people here.

One of the most compelling stories I've heard is about a woman whose son drove all the way from Texas to rescue her. He found her in a flooded home surrounded by alligator-infested water. 

( or ) She was able to get one of her dogs out; the ASPCA, hearing of her story, went back after the second dog (see below).

Here are some news reports with video that can more adequately describe the situation here, pictures and video from Lumberton about halfway down:





(Lumberton about halfway down with video with the caption “Lumberton Flooding” in which the Governor said that Lumberton and Robeson County are “the greatest challenge to this state”)


The interstate was washed out here. (Picture at right taken from the service road at Exit 22.) 


If you want to help, here is information from our state representative Jane Smith: Supplies can be sent to Robeson Emergency Operations Center at 38 Legend Road, Lumberton, North Carolina 28358. Monetary donations can go to United Way of Robeson County at PO Box 2652, Lumberton, NC 28360.


p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books, including two award-winning series set in Lumberton: Black Swamp Mysteries and the Ryan O'Clery Mystery Series.