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Less than two years after Matthew, Lumberton again flooded in misery

September 17, 2018

Water from the Lumber River began flowing into neighborhoods in the western and southern parts of Lumberton on Sunday evening, just as it did less than two years ago during Hurricane Matthew.

City workers, National Guard members and volunteers had tried to shore up a low point on the levee that protects the city, but their efforts were no match for Hurricane Florence’s relentless rains. The rising water in the river knocked out the sandbags and rocks put in place in recent days.

By Sunday evening, the water was coursing over N.C. Highway 72.

“It’s getting to be the norm around here. It’s getting to be normal,” said Jonathan Evans, who enduring flooding after Matthew. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Still, Evans said, he doubts his family will leave Lumberton after a second flood.

Lumberton’s water treatment plant was relying on its reserve wells to supply the city with drinking water because, officials said, the plant’s water pumps had been overwhelmed by the rising water.

The water plant was shut down for 30 days after Matthew, and crews built a berm around the plant to try to protect it from another flood. But the plant might have to shut down again if the pumps can’t be restarted before the wells run dry.

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