This week marks four years since Hurricane Matthew left over a foot of rain and widespread destruction across North Carolina. Twelve to eighteen inches…that’s how much rain fell in parts of North Carolina from Hurricane Matthew. The storm moved along the North Carolina coast on October 8 and 9, 2016 and produced widespread flooding. The flooding was made worst by the 6-10 inches of rain seen just a month prior from Tropical Storm Hermine as it moved over the same areas. The flooding resulted in 26 deaths, many of them from vehicles swept off roads in parts of the Sandhills, Coastal Plain, and Eastern North Carolina.
More than 100,000 structures were damaged in the state, causing more than $1.5 billion in damage. Most of the damage was due to flooding, with rivers setting record crests from the rainfall. The Neuse River in Smithfield rose to 29.09 feet, breaking the record crest caused by Hurricane Fran in 1996 by 2 feet. One business in Smithfield that never saw flooding in 15 years of operation experienced two feet of water in their warehouse.
“We had hundreds of people in here helping us during the clean-up process. But, it’s been very difficult, very hard to deal with, particularly when you’re the parent and you have to be strong for them and it’s not been easy,” Perry Harris, owner of Oxbay LLC, told us during the clean-up in the months after the hurricane.
The flooding resulted in nearly 900 people needing water rescues on October 9 alone.
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