Hurricane Floyd, September 15, 1999
On September 15, 1999, Hurricane Floyd blew through our area (Kinston, North Carolina) and left quite a mess. We only received a small portion of wind damage, but the rain that fell was too much for our already wet ground to handle. Hurricane Dennis had just come through here about two weeks before and dumped a bunch of rain.
The little creek that runs nearby (Gum Branch) is normally about 6 feet wide, and maybe a foot or two deep. On September 15th, this creek rose and rose and rose, until the water in our yard was 3 feet deep on the low end of the house, and 1 foot on the high end. This means that the creek itself was probably about 6 or 7 feet deep and it was flowing over the road. It took out a small portion of the road, but not enough to allow more water through. The road itself was acting as a dam, and the water just couldn't get through the culvert or over the road fast enough. We watched the water rise and rise, until only about 4 inches or so were left before it would come into our house. There was no way we could stop it. I noticed that the highway in front of our house (uphill a little bit from where the creek was flowing over) was only about 3 inches higher than the current water level, whereas our floor level was about 4 inches higher. I was convinced that if it rose to that level it would be able to flow over the road even faster and that would save our house (unless it wasn't enough). Anyway, praise God, it never rose any higher! Most of this was happening at night, so it was too dark to get a good look at what was going on.
The wind blew and blew all night. Some humor was found in face of the tragedy. There was a frog on our porch all night, sitting there right beside us, seemingly watching the flood with us. He didn't seem too interested in swimming in this newly formed lake. During the night, there was a lull in the rain, and the flood waters receded greatly. Just before dawn it came right back up again to the same level as before. After the sun came up, the frog decided it was safe, and jumped into our "lake" and swam away. I didn't sleep that night at all, and was awake when the sun came up. The wind was blowing very badly still, but not at dangerous strength. The lake that our house was sitting in was rippling in the wind, and was quite pretty, in spite of the fact that it was such a tragic sight at the same time. We had electricity until about 7am, and for some reason it just went out then, as did our phones. I was exhausted, so I finally went to bed around 9:00am. When I awoke around 1 pm, most of the water was gone.
We already knew what some of the damage was. We knew that all of our duct work had fallen down, since we could see water through our air vents. We heard about flash floods in other areas. Kinston itself was slowly flooding with the rising of the Neuse River and various streams. Our flood was over, but much of Eastern NC was still under water, and in some places it continued to rise for several days, even weeks. Many people lost all they owned, and a few lost their lives. We were quite lucky. We lost one car (10 years old), two heat pumps, our duct work, two septic tanks, two lawn mowers. We had driveway and parking lot damage, and other minor damage. All told it cost us $20,000 to repair everything. That does not include the car. Our neighbors Mitzi Stocks and her sister Sharon Jones took some photos which I'm posting here. These were taken September 16th, in the morning before the water had gone completely down. Just a few hours later there was no water left in our yard. (For some reason these photo's have "April 99" stamped on them, but they were taken September 16, 1999).
Above. This is our house looking from the road facing north easterly. During the night and earlier this day the water had been to the top of our Brick foundation, just a couple of inches shy of coming in the house.
Above. This is our house looking from the road facing south easterly. The car we parked beside the house barely got wet as it is higher ground than the rest of the yard.
Above. This is our house from the back yard, facing south westerly. The water over by the woods was about 3 feet deep still at this time.
Above. This is our house from the back yard, facing south easterly. This is our car that was flooded. Insurance paid for a little repair work, but after a few weeks the engine blew up, and we were stuck with it.
Above. This is looking south westerly from our front porch. This illustrates how the road acted as a dam.
Above. This is looking south easterly in our back yard. The "blue thing" is a swing set laying on it's side The water there is about 2 feet deep.
Above. This is our neighbor's pond across the street. His small pond became a huge lake, just like our yard. Notice the telephone pole laying in the lower right corner. That was in our back yard before the Hurricane as part of our parking lot. The flood water carried it across the street! Also notice how the trees are all bent over.