“There was water everywhere. I can tell you everywhere we went, we went into a road that was covered,” reflected Marks, “I mean the water in most of eastern North Carolina has started to go down, but for some it can’t go down fast enough.”
Many of the homes and roads in North Carolina still remain under water, nearly a week after the storm hit. So far, there have been 41 reported deaths related to the storm in both North Carolina and South Carolina.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to any of us,” said Pollocksville, N.C. resident Nancy Barbee. Marks and Rizzo floated down the streets with Barbee in the only way they could travel to downtown—by boat.
Barbee was born and raised in the small town of 311 citizens, located about 13 miles southwest of New Bern. She is a town commissioner and, just like others residents, was shocked at what the storm left behind. “We had no idea it was going to get this devastating and this deep,” she said.
The nearby Trent River poured into streets and, in some spots, it was almost 20-feet deep. “It’s unbelievable,” Barbee added. “I think I’m still in shock that this has happened.”
Homes in the area were left unlivable and businesses were destroyed. Barbee says town leaders are in close contact with FEMA and other organizations to work on recovery.
“The Red Cross is here and they are coming back,” Barbee said. “I’ve called Salvation Army. The mayor is talking to President Trump at the moment at Cherry Point.”
While it only took a matter of hours for the waters to rise over their town, it will take much longer for them to recover. “It’s just slow moving,” Barbee said. “It will take us months, if not years, to recover.”
In Duplin County, located west of Pollocksville, officials say six people died trying to drive through the high flood waters that overflowed from the Northeast Cape Fear River.
“I’m just hoping my house is there,” said Jacksonville, North Carolina resident Alya Zayas. “All the roads are completely closed.”
The city of Jacksonville is located in Onslow County, nestled around the New River. It’s about 60 miles northeast of Wilmington, N.C.
Zayas is frustrated like many North Carolina residents who are just trying to get back to their homes. “So much of what I’ve grown up on is gone,” Zayas said. “It’s really sad to see.”
The Sandersons who have lived in their home on Hallsville Road for almost three decades share the same frustration. On Tuesday, Billy and Rita waded in the water to see their home.
“That thing is a total loss,” Billy Sanderson said as he looked at his house. “It’s just hard to explain. You going to have to start over. That’s all we can do.”
The couple had massive water damage from Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Afterwards, they raised their home a bit higher from the ground, but unfortunately it was not high enough. “It’s a mess,” Billy added. “That’s the best thing I can tell you right now.”
“Everyone in northeast North Carolina, in that area, they say Floyd was the worst…did the most damage, had the most flooding,” said Marks. “Obviously, we now know that Floyd will no longer be talked about. Twenty years from now, it’s going to be Florence.”