POLLOCKSVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Today marks two years since Hurricane Florence devastated parts of the East.
Many communities are still in recovery mode, including Jones County.
“The river is a beautiful thing until it’s in your living room,” said Darrell Bell, a lifelong resident of Pollocksville.
September 14, 2018.
That’s the day the storm-swollen Trent River flooded the small town.
“It rained for like two or three days, non-stop,” said Bell. “I mean, where we’re standing was over our heads. A lot of people had to be rescued.”
Bell said he’s never experienced anything like Hurricane Florence.
Neither has his friend, Mike Duffy.
“I rolled off the futon sofa, my feet hit the floor and I had water up to my ankles,” said Duffy. “And I said, I gotta get out of here.”
Duffy lived in a camper for a year and half after flood waters destroyed his home and his barn.
A few shirts, some photos, and other items from his house are all that survived the flood.
A faint line in his barn shows the high water mark.
“It’s something you really can’t be prepared for,” said Franky Howard, Jones County Manager. “There’s not a whole lot you can do besides the move, or get out of the way for flooding.”
The county is moving forward, focusing on mitigation plans, rebuilding homes, and preparing for the next storm.
Things are back to normal for some people and businesses.
Many storefronts in Pollocksville remain empty.
“Nothing is here right now. It’s still like a ghost town,” said Bell. “I don’t think you every fully recover, a lot of people have moved and aren’t coming back.”
A dwindling population is another challenge for Jones County.
Howard says when people move away, the tax base shrinks, making storm recovery even tougher.