Hurricane Matthew

It's been a year since Hurricane Matthew dumped a dozen or more inches of rain on central and eastern North Carolina. Record flooding in the days following the storm devastated communities downstream. In all, 26 people in North Carolina died, farmers lost billions of dollars in crops and livestock, and cities along North Carolina's major rivers were waterlogged for weeks.

For a closer look at how communities in North Carolina have coped with the aftermath of the storm, click on the stories below.

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Princeville, Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

It's been one year since Hurricane Matthew devastated the tiny town of Princeville.  The mighty storm forced millions of gallons of water to swell past a levee along the Tar River, flooding most of the historic African-American community.

flooding in Raleigh
Gerry Broome / AP

A year ago, Hurricane Matthew dumped a dozen or more inches of rain on central and eastern North Carolina. Record flooding in the days following the storm devastated communities downstream.

A sign in front of West Lumberton Elementary, the only Robeson County school that remains closed a year after Hurricane Matthew. The storm dumped about three feet of standing water into the building, and destroyed many of its students' homes.
Lisa Philip / WUNC

Robeson County second grader Niveah Barnes remembers one detail in particular about Hurricane Matthew.

"I wanted to talk about dinosaurs when I was in first grade, but we couldn't do that, because the flood was in the middle of the school," she said.

Fair Bluff Mayor Billy Hammond stands on Main Street in his deserted downtown on a recent weekday morning.
Jay Price / WUNC

A highway runs through Main Street in Fair Bluff, just south of Interstate 95 near the South Carolina border. It’s a classic small downtown: storefronts line both sides, a couple dozen American flags flap in the wind as decorations, and semi-trucks whistle through on their way to feed commerce somewhere else.

The flags seem festive – until you look closer.

a flooded road after Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Multiple major hurricanes in the last few weeks have led to a renewed discussion of climate change, and when it is appropriate, to discuss possible policy and lifestyle changes.

Princeville, Flooding, Race, Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The town of Princeville is stepping up recovery efforts after flooding from Hurricane Matthew last fall.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed legislation directing how $100 million in additional Hurricane Matthew relief funds must be spent and requiring zip line and aerial ropes course owners to get minimum levels of liability insurance.

Overhead view of Hurricane Matthew
NASA / Flickr

Gov. Roy Cooper made another visit to Kinston as it continues to recover from Hurricane Matthew. 

The city was one of the hardest hit from the storm's record floods in October.

Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Sarah Hamilton / Flickr

Elizabeth City is taking a hit to its tourism economy as crews continue to clean up a popular boating route that's been closed since Hurricane Matthew hit in October.

2010 tornado in Iredell County, NC
England / Flickr

Officials in Bertie County are keeping a close eye on this week's rain as the county continues to recover from recent storms.

Storms in Raleigh caused flooding in Kinston. This photo was taken April 25, 2017.
Associated Press

The mayor of Kinston wants the N.C. Legislature and U.S. Congress to help prevent future floods as the Neuse River crests from more heavy rain.

Liz Bell

Many communities in eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The storm hit the East Coast last October, and in Edgecombe County hundreds of students were displaced after flooding nearly destroyed Princeville Elementary School. Now the Edgecombe County school board must decide on next steps for rebuilding the school.

A sign indicates a store is open in flood-damaged Lumberton, N.C.
Jay Price / WUNC

Almost five months after Hurricane Matthew struck Eastern North Carolina, leaving 26 people dead and an estimated $1.6 billion in property damage, part of the long-term recovery has just gotten under way.

Princeville, Hurricane Matthew, African Americans
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The tiny town of Princeville, North Carolina is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew, which flooded this historic African-American town in October.

Princeville, Flooding, Race, Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Victims of Hurricane Matthew are getting much needed relief. Governor Roy Cooper announced the state would be getting $198 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The town of Nags Head is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for help to restore 1.4 million cubic meters of sand along its shoreline after Hurricane Matthew. 

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly meets this week in a special short session. Lame duck Governor Pat McCrory called the session to address disaster relief funding for victims of both Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the western part of the state.  
 

protesters inside the General Assembly
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

UPDATED Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 7:05 p.m. The state House voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass their version of a disaster relief measure. The bill goes onto the Senate for further debate Wednesday.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers will convene in Raleigh Tuesday to deal with disaster relief, but the agenda is open-ended.

Lame duck Republican Governor Pat McCrory called this gathering to deal with disaster relief stemming from Hurricane Matthew and mountain wildfires in western North Carolina, as well as “for the purpose of addressing any other matters the General Assembly elects to consider.”

Robeson Schools Superintendent Tommy Lowry surveys the damage outside the textbook and supply warehouse at the district's central services.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Outside Robeson County Schools central offices, Superintendent Tommy Lowry points to a large hole in the top of the chain-link fence. "Where that fence is cut there, that’s where I came across in a boat. That’s how high the water was," he said.

Princeville, Flooding, Race, Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Residents in a small, mostly African-American community in eastern North Carolina are still waiting to see what’s left of their flooded homes since the wrath of Hurricane Matthew.

flooding in the Fayetteville area after Hurricane Matthew
Photo courtesy of Kareen White

As floodwaters finally recede away from eastern North Carolina, families have returned to their homes to survey the damage and pick up the pieces.

What they are finding is that this could end up as one of the costliest storms in U.S. history.

flooding south of downtown Lumberton
Jay Price / WUNC

Residents in Fayetteville, Greenville and small towns throughout southeastern North Carolina are facing the outlook of long-term recovery from Hurricane Matthew’s destructive flooding.

Flooded neighborhoods in Grifton near the Contentnea Creek on Thursday, October 13, 2016.
Jay Price / WUNC

Kelly Thomas stood at the yellow crime scene tape on Thursday afternoon and looked down Grifton’s South Highland Boulevard. The brown floodwater glided slowly around her restaurant. There was water inside it, too.

Faith leaders, police and town staff lay hands on one another and Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas to pray for strength against the slow-moving catastrophe headed toward them.
Jess Clark / WUNC

The Tar River cuts right through the city of Greenville, but it doesn’t usually cut through Steve Johnson’s backyard.

“I wasn’t prepared for flooding. You know, I don’t think anyone ever is,” said Johnson. “I was prepared for the hurricane. I was even prepared to leave if something happened during the hurricane...I wasn’t prepared for flooding, you just never know how that’s gonna turn.

a flooded road after Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Emergency officials in North Carolina say at least 20 people have died because of Hurricane Matthew.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Governor Pat McCrory urged drivers to continue following marked detours, as two major interstates and many smaller roadways remain flooded as rivers continue to rise.

Among those suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew are farmers in the Carolinas. Heavy rains and flooding are impacting many crops, including peanuts.

October is usually a prime time for the peanut harvest, but many of the nuts are now either underwater or waterlogged.

Contentnea Creek
Jay Price / WUNC

Updated 3:15 p.m. October 17, 2016

Governor Pat McCrory was in New Bern this afternoon to survey damage from the floods left behind by Hurricane Matthew. 

The state Department of Transportation says many roads are still closed in eastern North Carolina, but I-95 has reopened from Fayetteville to Lumberton.  At least 25 people have died in North Carolina. Most were trapped in the vehicles in the flooding.

Officials estimate that flooding from Hurricane Matthew has caused $1.5 billion in damage to 100,000 homes, businesses and government buildings.

view of flooded I-95 after Hurricane Matthew
Jay Price / WUNC

Although there hasn’t been a drop of rain to fall from the sky since the weekend, the worst flooding could still be ahead for areas in southeastern North Carolina.

That's because rain from Hurricane Matthew that fell on areas inland – like the Triangle – will continue to flow toward the coast, collecting in ever-growing rivers that will surge through areas like Goldsboro, Kinston and Lumberton along the way.

flooding south of downtown Lumberton
Jay Price / WUNC

Officials say the death toll in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew has risen to 17.

Earlier in the day, officials in Robeson County said they found the body of a man who was in a car when it was washed away in the flooding. All but one of the victims were in vehicles when they died, according to authorities.

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