Today we remember Hurricane Floyd. Floyd precipitated the “Flood of the Century” in Eastern North Carolina. Wikipedia has a skinny but accurate entry on Floyd, its record-breaking rainfall, and subsequent flooding. Every river basin in Eastern North Carolina exceeded its 500 year flood level!
East Carolina University has a nice site about Floyd, much Greenville specific information and images.
|From ECU’s web site on Floyd|
We were there. Schools in Pitt County were closed for over two weeks– many were used as shelters, including Ayden Middle School which Miss M attended. When school finally resumed, Miss M’s Language Arts teacher had her students write short essays about their experiences. She compiled and printed the essays in a booklet titled, “Memories of the Flood September 1999.” They are really quite something.
Miss M’s was titled “The Devastation of Hurricane Floyd.” Some snippets from her 2 1/2 page essay below.
I have lived nearly my whole life in the small town of Ayden North Carolina, so I am pretty used to this whole hurricane deal. I wasn’t worried at all this past hurricane season when everyone was talking about Floyd. Frankly, I just wanted to get out of school. I didn’t have a clue it would be so devastating.
… However, what we did not know is that we would wake up the next morning to see that our front yard was covered in murky, germ infested water.
The morning of the flood, I decided I wanted to go rafting because, except for all the water, it was a gorgeous day. The sun shone so brightly that morning so finally my family blew up the raft and went around the neighborhood. … I found out later that day that all of the town of Grifton was completely under water. That started bringing everything into perspective for me.
I couldn’t begin to imagine what these people were going through until I saw it first hand. Later on in the week, I went to volunteer at my school… . It was a horrifying sight; rickety camping cots, little kids toys, and miserable people strung all about the hallways. I felt so bad for these people but helping in the shelter made me feel a little better about the situation.
I was nervous to be working there at first… . … On Sunday, we had a church service after dinner, many people sang gospel, and one of the volunteers from the kitchen preached. I never thought that anyone could have so much faith, but they were in time of need so I guess they had to.
The kitchen staff at the shelter was so generous… . We even got onto a local television news program… “Miracle Kitchen.” I was so proud of myself because I worked every day for over a week but then I realized that I had stopped coming back to help, I just grew attached to the wonderful people there.
I found out recently that many homes have been condemned and people can’t go home. The devastation is still with us and probably will be for quite a long time. I don’t know how else to describe the horrible reality of what happened when Floyd hit than to simply call it devastation. There isn’t a word to describe it but I know I will remember this flood for the rest of my life and I pray that it never happen again.