Onslow County continues recovery efforts 1 year after Florence

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) September 13 marks the one year anniversary of one of the worst natural disasters to strike Eastern North Carolina, coastal communities and Onslow County.

Hurricane Florence lingered over Onslow County for three days, bringing in catastrophic rainfall and damaging more than 11,000 homes and businesses in the county, costing residents more than $515 million in damages.

Damages, that many resilient Onslow County residents are still working to fix a year after the storm, facing challenges with insurance and finding contractors to do the job.

FEMA is still working to reimburse County residents a year after Florence, a storm that left behind more than 800,000 cubic feet of debris.

“The magnitude and scope of the destruction and devastation brought to Onslow County by Hurricane Florence impacted all of us. However, the unique spirit of community and service to others, which is Onslow County has significantly advanced the recovery and rebuilding efforts. We still have much work ahead of us to fully recover from Hurricane Florence and with us continuing to work together we will rebuild our community to be strong and more resilient.” says David Cotton, the Onslow County Manager.

Onslow County Government staff spent 10 nights and days in the Emergency Operations Center last September after ordering mandatory evacuations for the first time in County history.

They helped bus more than 900 residents outside the County to safety.

9-1-1 operators took more than 7,900 calls, and the Onslow County Swift Water Rescue Team, County Sheriff’s Office, paid and volunteer fire departments, US Marine Corps, and US Coast Guard plucked more than 400 residents out of floodwaters.

For three days, all roads leading into Onslow County were impassible.

“Hurricane Florence was one of the most difficult and, was the costliest storm in the recorded history of Onslow County. I cannot thank the men and women of the County as well as our partners and volunteers for all that they did for the citizens during Hurricane Florence,” says Norman Bryson, Onslow County Emergency Services Director.

All lessons learned, as Onslow County Government continuously trains staff to be ready to serve its community if disaster strikes.

The Onslow County Emergency Operations Center activated during Hurricane Dorian on September 5.

A storm that dodged most of Onslow County, but still left just under $6 million in damage to almost 140 properties in the County.

North Topsail Beach took the brunt of the hurricane impacts to almost 80 properties, resulting in more than $4 million in damage.

Jacksonville had damage to almost 20 homes and businesses, estimated to cost $168,000.

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