Fayetteville residents brace for Florence using lessons learned from Matthew

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

FAYETTEVILLE, NC (WTVD) -- Fayetteville is bracing for the worst as Hurricane Florence takes aim for the Sandhills. It was just two years ago, that Hurricane Matthew flooding stranded survivors and left a mess for homeowners to clean-up, many of whom are still rebuilding.

In that tragedy, lessons were learned. Perhaps the biggest lesson? Preparation.

One wheelchair-bound woman who survived Matthew is scrambling to prepare because she had no idea Florence was coming.

MORE: Full coverage of Hurricane Florence

Joyce Elwood is the only resident in her cul-de-sac that rebuilt after Matthew. Two years ago, her three children with autism helped her to safety in the four-foot-deep floodwaters.

From there, the Methodist Disaster Recovery team rushed to remodel her home before the Christmas holiday. Elwood hasn't even been able to enjoy her house for a year, and now it's in jeopardy.

She was speechless when ABC11 told her about Hurricane Florence and now the disabled mother of three is struggling to find out how she's going to get supplies and get out of her flood-prone home.

"It's like a rubber band and it can only go so far and that's how I'm feeling right now," Elwood said.

Elwood needs transportation to evacuate from her home. She has medical equipment as well that she will need to take with her. If anyone can help her and her family prepare for this storm please call (910) 500-9499.


Although it is still too early to tell what direct effects Hurricane Florence will have on Fayetteville, the City is preparing for the storm and reminding residents to do so, as well.

Residents should check their storm drains and remove leaves, pine straw or other debris to allow for better water drainage.

"This is a serious matter. The city and county are working very well together with coordination of our emergency management services as well as other departments to stay and to support one another," said Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin.

The Street Maintenance Division with the Public Services Department is performing street sweeping and looking at areas with problematic storm drains. For more information on cleaning storm drains, watch the video below:

Residents should also have a plan for their families and pets, as well as prepare three-day emergency kits.

Cumberland County Board of Commissioners issued a State of Emergency effective Monday at 3:30 p.m. in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

The declaration includes a curfew that will be effective from sunset to sunrise beginning Wednesday, Sept. 12, as a precaution in the unincorporated areas of the county. No expiration has been set for the curfew at this time. The effects of the hurricane are expected to be felt here beginning Wednesday, if the storm continues its current track. Residents are urged to stay indoors during the weather event.

"Hurricane Florence will bring us heavy rainfall and damaging winds, which may cause localized flooding and power outages throughout the county. Now is the time to prepare for this potentially life-threatening hurricane. We recommend that you finish preparations no later than Wednesday evening, Sept. 12," said Assistant County Manager Tracy Jackson, who is the County's interim Emergency Services Director.



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Residents are also asked to call 911 for health and life-threatening emergencies only. For downed power lines, sinkholes, street maintenance, debris issues and other storm-related work orders, download the City's FayFixIt app to report the problem.