9 On Your Side checks in with residents one month after October flooding

BELHAVEN, N.C. (WNCT) – “It was just like a bad Nor’easter that blew in and just decided to stay and wouldn’t go home,” says Tommy Poe, who has lived on Portside Dr. in Chocowinity for over 30 years.

Two weeks of relentless rain capped off by a strong coastal storm. Flooding was the result for many communities across the East to start the month of October. One month later, we’re checking in with several hard hit areas in Beaufort County. Ginger Stoop owns the Gingerbread Bakery and O’Neal’s Snack Bar in downtown Belhaven. Many business owners along Main Street, including her, watched the water rise on October 5th.

Gingerbread Bakery & O'Neal's Snack Bar - Belhaven, N.C.
Gingerbread Bakery & O’Neal’s Snack Bar – Belhaven, N.C.

 

“My landlords had boarded up good,” says Stoop. “It had come up to the sidewalk but hadn’t come into my building. And then it came in, about six to eight inches thereabouts. It stayed for a good two days.”

Flooding along Main Street in downtown Belhaven, N.C. on October 5, 2015
Flooding along Main Street in downtown Belhaven, N.C. on October 5, 2015

 

The water level at Market 32 in downtown Belhaven only came up a few inches with this latest storm. By comparison, it jumped to over 3 feet during Irene back in 2011.

Back at the Gingerbread Bakery, they feel fortunate that it wasn’t much worse.

“We made out very well in this one, if you’re gonna have it,” says Stoop. “Yeah, we did fine. We made out alright.”

Stoop lost several refrigerators, a freezer, and a prep table to the floodwater. She says she was overwhelmed by the community’s support.

“The Chamber of Commerce offered gift certificates from local people who had given money to them for cleaning supplies so it was very kind,” says Stoop. “Folks just gathered around and helped everybody get back together.”

After a week and a half and a few thousand dollars of cleanup and repair, business is back and booming at this bakery and snack bar.
Further west in Chocowinity, Tommy Poe is one of many homeowners along Portside Drive who dealt with flooding when the Pamlico River spilled over its banks.

“The river rose to flood stage, which is a little over four feet,” says Poe. “At that stage, I had about four inches of water in my downstairs here.”

Flooding along Portside Dr. in Chocowinity on October 4, 2015
Flooding along Portside Dr. in Chocowinity on October 4, 2015

 

Poe has lived here for over 30 years, and was ready for the floods to come. But, he agrees with business owners in Belhaven: they’ve certainly seen worse than this.

“Fran, Bertha, through Irene is where there’d actually be wind and water,” says Poe. “It would force more water up here where it has been well over 5 feet high.”

Once the water did recede, a little power washing and raking up debris around his yard…and things were back to normal within a few hours.

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