DPS Dispatch

Hurricane Florence made its landfall in North Carolina more than eight months ago. The historic storm left many homeowners’ devastated and hopeless. At the beginning of 2019, North Carolina implemented the NC Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (NC STEP) program.  The storm’s destruction left thousands without power and damaged homes, and STEP provided a means to help homeowners’ return to their houses more quickly. 

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Sherrie Mickelson-Mickelson-Hilliard has lived in her mobile home since 1998 and has felt the impact of Hurricanes Floyd, Matthew, and Florence. However, Hurricane Florence has been the only major Hurricane to cause damage to Mickelson-Mickelson-Hilliard’s home that she and her husband, Rob Mickelson-Hilliard, couldn’t fix on their own. 

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WALLACE- For more than 30 years, Susan Johnson has been a resident in Duplin County. Johnson has experienced three devastating hurricanes over those years: Hurricanes Floyd, Matthew and Florence. The aftermath of each hurricane was different. Hurricane Floyd’s flooding in 1999 left ankle-high water in Johnson’s home; however, her home remained dry when Hurricane Matthew subsided. Hurricane Florence was a surprise to Johnson as there was four feet of water inside the home and nine feet of water surrounding the house.

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Fairmont – Phostenia McCrimmon, a United States military veteran and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, has lived in her home since 1980. McCrimmon served in the army for three years before moving to North Carolina permanently. As someone who does a lot of community service within her sorority, McCrimmon was overwhelmed by the help that she received from both Hurricane Matthew and Florence. 

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Wallace - Teresa Kelley, a Hurricane Florence survivor, has been a resident of the Town of Wallace in Duplin County since 2000. Her home is a half-mile from the Northeast Cape Fear River on a dirt road. Although the inside of Kelley’s home was not damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, it was surrounded by water 10 feet deep. As Hurricane Florence approached in 2018, Kelley and her husband evacuated six miles away to stay with their daughter’s boyfriend. After the storm, Kelley and her husband could not visit their home to view the damages until a week after the flooding diminished.

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When Hurricane Florence made its landfall in North Carolina, thousands of businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed.  Joseph Brown’s home in Chinquapin was flooded with five feet of water from the nearby Northeast Cape Fear River, which lies only a half-mile away. Flooding in the area was extensive, stretching 11 miles along the river from Chinquapin to the nearby town of Wallace.

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Hurricane Florence will be remembered as one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the state of North Carolina.  The monster storm battered the North Carolina coast, trailing inland, leaving a path of destruction throughout eastern coastal regions.  Thirty-seven people have died as the result of Hurricane Florence.  But before the massive storm even hit, North Carolina emergency officials were preparing for what meteorologists have called the second “500-year storm” to hit the state since Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  

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