Perdue gets firsthand look at flood damage

WINDSOR, NC Some of the places that were inundated then were flooded again this time around.

"So many of the same homes and businesses are the same ones hit. that's what's so devastating," Governor Perdue said Sunday. "These people have just really bounced back and started to make money and lives their lives again."

She said she had been in Windsor about a month ago to see the progress made on rebuilding that downtown in the past decade.

"They were so pleased and so excited about the fact that their businesses had bounced back after Floyd," she said. "And now about half of them have been devastated again."

The Carolinas were drenched last week by a storm that crept up the East Coast, dropping record amounts of precipitation in some places and being blamed for multiple deaths in traffic accidents on rain-slick roads.

About 200 businesses and homes in Windsor were damaged, Perdue said.

"Some of the small business owners were there today and were saying, 'Well this is the second time' and they actually didn't know if they were going to stay," she said.

Roy Stocks, a 76-year-old service station owner, says he likely will rebuild, just like he did after the nearby Cashie River flooded his place in 1999.

"We've done it once before, we'll do it again," he said.

His previous cleanup cost him more than $70,000 because he didn't have flood insurance -- and he still doesn't. This time, he estimated the water was about three feet deep at its peak inside his convenience store at Roy's Service Center, but it was hard to tell.

"It didn't leave a mark like it did last time, but I guess it didn't stay around as long," he said.

The water was no longer in his store Sunday, but it remained in his car repair shop.

Perdue said she hopes those who do rebuild will take this opportunity to try to elevate their homes and businesses so they won't face similar destruction in the future.

"In Windsor the homes that were elevated ... were fine during this incident," Perdue said.

The North Carolina State Emergency Response Team says much of Windsor is expected to remain under water for several days. The downtown was evacuated last week along with more than 40 residents from a nursing home.

Last week's heavy rain is being blamed for at least six deaths in traffic accidents.

Highway Patrol First Sgt. Kenneth Pitts said Sunday that 3-year-old Ezekiel Alvarez died late Friday. The boy's parents and two siblings including his twin were killed the day before when their Jeep Cherokee hit a patch of standing water, hydroplaned and skidded off the highway into a ditch.

The sixth victim in the state likely drowned when his pickup truck veered off the road and into a rain-swollen river.

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