An Inside Look at Hurricane Florence


 
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I just can’t believe it is happening again. 

That is the thought that has been on replay in my mind for the past several days since Hurricane Florence entered into our community last Friday morning {or was it Thursday morning? I honestly don’t even know anymore}. In order to understand the full devastation that Hurricane Florence has brought, you must understand what happened to my city of Lumberton, North Carolina not even two years ago during Hurricane Matthew. 

Matthew is a name that lives in infamy around here. Hurricane Matthew dumped catastrophic flooding on Lumberton, NC in October of 2016. The Lumber River which runs directly through the city reached record flood levels leaving South and West Lumberton literally underwater for days. Many people lost literally everything they have: homes, vehicles, all possessions, and for some: even their lives. It was deemed the “100 year flood”, and the “flood of a lifetime”. Though this area has seen it’s fair share of hurricanes in the past, never have we experienced anything of this magnitude. Never has the city been flooded anywhere near this level. 

Robeson County, North Carolina{the county that includes Lumberton, NC} is, statistically speaking, one of the lowest income areas in the state of North Carolina. The stark reality was that many people affected by Hurricane Matthew would never fully recover. But, what Robeson County lacks in income, they make up for in heart. Never in my life have I seen a community pull together and help one another the way they did in the days, weeks, and months following Hurricane Matthew. 

Here we are almost two years later and many people have only recently regained a sense of normalcy in their lives. 

And then Hurricane Florence came to town…

Where as Hurricane Matthew stayed in our area for less than 24 hours, Hurricane Florence decided that she liked our southern hospitality and stayed for almost four days dumping even more rain than Hurricane Matthew {over 23 inches of rain and bringing the Lumber River to new record breaking levels}. 

The devastation and destruction are more widespread and severe than even what was seen in 2016 in the aftermath of Matthew.

The emotions are raw. They’re real and they are all over the place. From terror to shock to bitterness to frustration and unbelief. That “100 year flood”…and “storm of the century” has happened again in less than 2 years. The lives, homes, and businesses that have been rebuilt are now reduced to nothing again.

Hundreds of water rescues have saved lives in Lumberton, NC.

We learned a lot from Hurricane Matthew…and our community did its best to try to prepare for Hurricane Florence. My husband was one of dozens of men who went during the pouring rain on Thursday and built a berm  to try to prevent the Lumber River from spilling out into neighborhoods that were destroyed during Matthew. Unfortunately, the berm was no match for the rushing waters. You can see the breach of the newly created berm in this video. Be sure to watch to the end to see the full extent.

Sadly, no amount of preparation could have prevented the amount of destruction we are seeing now…and though the rain has subsided, waters will continue to rise throughout the week.

The current situation in Lumberton, NC looks like this:

  • Thousands of people whose homes are under water are in local shelters. 
  • Hundreds of people are without electricity.
  • Many people have lost their places of employment.
  • Public schools are closed indefinitely as many schools are under water and those that aren’t are being used as shelters for those who have been evacuated and have lost their homes.
  • As of the current moment, there are no roads into or out of Lumberton, NC. Roads are either under water or have collapsed due to fooding.
  • People are scared, hungry, and hurting.

But- once again, we can see that love will win. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Those of us {like my family} who were spared from the worst of the destruction are putting our lives on hold to help those around us. It’s going to be a long road…unfortunately, we won’t even know the full extent of the destruction until the waters begin to recede which will be days. What we do know is that we have more widespread damage than we saw with Hurricane Matthew.

So many of you have reached out to me to ask me how you can help. And, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your prayers. I have felt them and I beg you to please keep them coming. Pray for our city. Pray for those who have lost everything….again. Pray for those of us who have been fortunate- that we can keep giving tirelessly to those around us. Pray for our first responders who haven’t slept in almost a week. Please just don’t stop praying for us. We need it now…and we’ll need it for months to come. I am still without internet both at my home and on my cell phone, so I have been unable to reply to many of you. Right now, I have been blessed to find a small wifi signal to send out this post.

If you would like to do even more to help those in Lumberton and Robeson County, NC, here’s how you can help. I’m having a sale on ALL products in my shop. This includes my popular Homeschool Mom Life Binder, Homeschool Mom Fitness Program, Homeschool Holiday Bundle, and everything else in my shop. This also applies to my blogging courses found here. 100% of the profits will go DIRECTLY to meeting the needs of those in my community who were affected by Hurricane Florence. If you’ve been reading my blog since 2016, you’ll remember that I did the same thing during Hurricane Matthew and I was able to raise over $1000 and was able to meet many needs and ease some of the suffering in our community. Being here in the midst of the tragedy, I am able to identify and respond to individual needs. I make a point to share photos and updates on my social media platforms and in emails to show you exactly how your contributions are directly helping those affected by Hurricane Florence. If you would simply like to make a donation without getting anything in return, you can do so here. When needs are as great as they are now, there is no amount that is too small to make a difference. 

On behalf of Robeson County and the City of Lumberton, North Carolina, we thank you for your prayers during our darkest hour.  I’ll update more as I can. 


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This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Heather,
    I will continue to pray. We lost our home in Hurricane Katrina (total loss) so I completely understand the needs.

  2. So sorry y’all are going through this!! Sounds very much like what happened to our area last year with Hurricane Harvey. The town south of me is also named Lumberton and they, too, had no way out because of the flooding. Those in my town, Kountze, could only go North, but everyone south of us was trapped until the water went down and bridges were inspected. Praying for all of you!!

  3. Prayers continuing for a complete recovery. God Bless all.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  4. Though not as catastrophic as your situation, we are in Grifton NC in Pitt county and were also affected by Matthew and now by Florence. We have been out of power since Friday morning and the Contentnea Creek near our home is still rising. But with prayers and the strong will of the people in NC, I know everyone in our beautiful State will get through this. God Bless you and your families…

  5. I’ll be praying. We are still recovering ourselves from a fire that destroyed our city a few years ago. Our house isn’t rebuilt yet but I can only imagine the devastation of it happening yet again just as you’re going back to a semblance of normality.

    Hugs,

    Kristy
    Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

  6. Praying for all of you. I have family in Cumberland County that thought they would have to evacuate due to flooding, but fortunately, their houses are high enough they should be ok. I have an uncle in Wilmington that had minor flooding. We are in Johnston County and were without power for a day. I know many in our area have been flooded out as well. This is just devastating. I pray for all those that are affected and pray for all those that are able to help.

  7. Praying for your town! Dear God I pray that you put your hands on this town that is seeing devistation again. Please God protect this town and their safety. In your name
    Amen

  8. Thanks for updating. We understand hurricane devastation all too well. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

  9. I’m so sorry! We survived Matthew and Irma, so I totally get it. Everyone’s in my prayers. God bless!

  10. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  11. Praying for you and all those in Lumberton. May the Lord comfort and strengthen you and those in your community, and may He grant strength and rest to the first responders who are working tirelessly there, as well. God bless and keep you!

  12. Praying for your community, from our homeschool community in Australia.

  13. Hoping this ends soon, without any more lives lost! Sending strength and love from California, to get you and all of the communities through this!!!!!

  14. I am so sorry! We live in Maysville, NC. We evacuated to Flintville, TN last week and are heading home tomorrow. We have water, but no electricity. My husband has to go back to work. I will definitely be in prayer for your family. My mom was with the NC Baptists last year to help in your town.

  15. Praying for you and your city, Heather! Thankful to hear you and your family weathered the storm okay. Been thinking about you. Thank you for all you are doing to help!

  16. Oh Heather! I am so sorry this is happening again. And so very grateful you and your family are safe. We have been and will continue to pray for you and all of those affected by Hurricane Florence. Lots and lots of love to all of you!

  17. Praying for you all and especially the children, I know how traumatized it can be, I lost my home many years ago in Hurricane Andrew when I was a child and it took me a few years to not have any fear when it rained or other hurricanes came.
    I know God has you all in His hands:)

  18. Prayers for all those in Lumberton, and also Fayetteville, Wilmington, and all along the coast. My parents and sister just went home after evacuating last week.

  19. I am in Jacksonville North Carolina. So we didn’t get hit as badly with Matthew but I’m scared to see what floor and stomped on us. Prayers for you and Robeson County. I love your blog and I hope that you all in Lumberton are able to recover again.

  20. Praying for everyone in Lumberton and all of our neighbors throughout VA, NC, and SC that we’re impacted by Florence.

  21. We are praying for your family as well as all of the other families that have been affected by the storm.

  22. We live outside of Wilmington, NC. I have been through MANY hurricanes, but this one was one of the worst! Trying to get back to normal.

  23. We live in Canada, although we have been watching the devastation the east coast of North America has been dealing with lately. We send our thoughts and prayers to all families in Hurricane Florence pathway. God bless and provide!

  24. I will continue to pray for you and your family and all who are affected by Hurricane Florence. God bless you!

  25. I live In wilkes NC. As what was tropical by time it got here was still expected to be alot of rain because as you said it just loved our great state and went so slow turned out to move fast and I watched online as it ebed and flowed lightly right over us and harder all around us. I spoke to the storm in rebukeand God answered.. So now I’m speaking to the after effects of the storm thru the whole. Coastal area and any other areas effected that the waters receede now in Jesus name amen

  26. Praying for everyone affected by the Hurricane!

  27. I will keep you in my pray.

  28. Dear Lord, thank you for the hearts of people like Heather and her family who remember to help those in need. I pray that Your presence is felt in all the towns affected by the hurricane and ask that You surround the residents, local and state leaders and first responders with Your word, love and encouragement. I pray that others continue to be touched and convicted by the pictures and stories of this distaster so that they may also find encouragement and inspiration from Your active love. Thank you for Your loving protection and provision and all that You have done and will do during these hardships. In your name Jesus, Amen

  29. Prayers for you. No one knows how awful these hurricanes are unless you have truly lived through one.

    We survived María here in PR. We will never be the same. Months without water and electricity. The angst and sorrow is immeasurable. I remember Hurricane Matthew as it was on our radar too in 2016 passing south of PR. The buzz of generators will always throw my heart into my throat as we still have power outages weekly. It brings you right back to that haunting day. I never truly understood the impact hurricanes have on your life going forward. Until now. So I am just here to say I truly do understand.

    Someone once wrote this after hurricane Irma.

    “The storm itself isn’t as terrifying as the moment your daily life is thrown into utter chaos and you are forced from comfort into survival.”

    I pray you and your family find peace and comfort as the days pass and recovery takes place.

  30. I am praying for you, your family, and the community. We are neighbors 🙂 as we live in Hoke County. If there is any way we can help, please do not hesitate to reach out.

  31. This breaks my heart. My family was able to connect with a church in WV when they had significant flooding a couple of years ago. We would love to have the opportunity to serve once the water subsides!

  32. This saddens me so much. My continued prayers for you all. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
    Oneida

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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