North Carolina wasn’t the only one hit by Hurricane Matthew.
Call it human nature. There’s no doubt we help out and sacrifice for others, but when a storm with the mighty blow such as Matthew wrecks our front and back yards, we tend not to look very far.
We see us. And we know what it did to us.
Matthew, or rather a storm by that name, won’t hurt us anymore. The World Meteorological Organization retired the name, as it does with all storms of such devastation.
Matthew destroyed most whatever was in its path from the Lesser Antilles to Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and right here in the Old North State. He was mean, ferocious and plenty wet.
We thought he was a heck of a storm — and make no mistake he was — until Hurricane Florence came lollygagging through last month.
This weekend marks two years since Matthew changed lives, including killing 31 in our state alone. Safe to say, many parts of North Carolina had not seen a rainy Saturday like that since.
Then came Florence.
And a key problem for us was that we weren’t over Matthew. The state had just opened several more Disaster Recovery Centers in the summer. A number of people were either still displaced from their homes, or had just gotten back.
Two years. Two very long years.
Matthew was a Category 1 storm when it landed in South Carolina and churned its way to us. The damage was estimated at $4.8 billion in North Carolina, with homes, businesses, public facilities, agriculture and roads suffering greatly. Five rivers — the Cape Fear, Lumber, Neuse, Tar and Cashie — flooded and remained at flood stage for two weeks.
And that was with what now seems like a mere 18 inches of rain in some of the hardest hit spots. Some had absorbed six to 12 inches a week earlier.
Nearly 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, 20 dams were breached and more than 660 roads were closed by wind and flooding. Swift water rescues were made for 2,336 people.
It was bad. And there have been two long years of agony behind it. Don’t believe us? Just go ask someone trying to get assistance through any number of state or federal entities.
Sure, some have gotten it and are getting back up and running as it were. Several others got aid from other organizations, like those of faith and civic service.
But not everyone, and for a number of reasons. Even money that was earmarked to help has not fully made it where it is needed most — the hands of victims.
We don’t have the solution to that problem, but like everyone, we know there’s an issue. And a better way must be out there.
Florence was worse than Matthew. Here’s hoping recovery is better.