Four years later, New Bern business owners reflect on Hurricane Florence

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – Boats swept away, walls caved in, waist-high water in the streets, and storefronts blown through are just some of the ways to describe the destruction Hurricane Florence caused New Bern.

It’s been four years since Hurricane Florence blew through Eastern Carolina, and the New Bern community has spent the time rebuilding what was lost in the storm.

Resident Michalee Rose Watson reflected on how she and her husband dealt with the damage they saw in their homes. She says they spent days shoveling buckets of water into their bathtubs as water rained into their homes.

“We’d work a few hours a day until we’d retire. And then it was like ‘okay, that was enough for today, tomorrow we will do the next thing.’ And every day, we did a few more hours until we got all of the sheetrock out and then we began repairing the brick and sealing it, and then just working to get ourselves back to a safe situation,” Rose Watson said.

Rose Watson and her husband have since opened up Studio M in the downstairs portion of their Middle Street home.

Twice As Nice consignment store lost inventory and its storage room, but owner Cari Starr says they are getting back to where they were before 2018.

“We continued to work on the second room while the front room was open. It took probably close to a month before the whole store was open and we were unable to use the storage area which they ended up knocking down,” Starr said.

Hurricane Florence broke 18 flood records and left thousands without power for days.

Following the hurricane, the city approved a multi-phase, long-term, resilience and hazard mitigation plan to help prepare for future disasters.

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