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After Hurricane Matthew damage, Robeson prepares for Florence

September 12, 2018

The floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 flooded Lumberton’s water plant backup generator and the control room.

On Wednesday, crews were working to protect the water plant with a berm and sandbags.

People who live in the areas that were hit hard by those floodwaters said they’re not taking any chances with Hurricane Florence coming.

Linda Brewer Norris’ home was damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

After spending thousands of dollars and months of work in repairs, she moved back home in October.

Now, she’s preparing for Florence.

“Trying to get them to get everything off the floors so if it comes in, it don’t come up too high,” Norris said. “Maybe it’ll save some of it.”

“Do the whole house and everything and redo everything, floors and all the walls and all,” she continued.

The Lumber River was at 13 feet, which is flood level, when Matthew hit. On Wednesday, it was at 7 feet.

“It’s fairly dry,” said City Manager Wayne Horne. “Areas that would normally impound water around the river are dry.”

The water that rushed into the city and Norris’ neighborhood came through a levee opening under Interstate 95.

The city received $2.2 million dollars in grant money to install flood gates, but it’ll take 18 months, Horne said

“The river is now at the lowest level,” he said. “Seven feet, hopefully that water won’t come out through that opening this time, but here again, we don’t know.”

Lumberton received $1.2 million to build a berm around the water plant, Horne said, but for now crews are working to protect it

Corey Walters, deputy director of the city’s public works department, said crews were building a temporary berm around the water plant’s critical infrastructure. They were also laying sandbags.

As for Norris, preparation is about protecting her family.

“I’m just saying, if we live through it, it’ll be all that matters, really,” she said.

Four shelters will open 8 a.m. Thursday at Lumberton, Purnell Swett and St. Pauls high schools and at Fairmont Middle School.

Robeson County will have a curfew beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday and lasting from sunset to sunrise until further notice.

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