Along Neuse, residents hope Florence flooding stays at bay

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Hurricane Florence comes less than two years after the historic flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

Areas across the state, like Goldsboro, are still recovering.

Along the Neuse River, people are praying for the water to stay at bay.

Brenda Sigmon knows a hurricane can roil that river right into her mom’s living room.

It happened before, and she fears it will happen again.

And if it does, she said, “I have made up my mind. We will not rebuild.”

Sigmon’s mother is 90 years old and homebound with dementia.

During Hurricane Matthew, the Neuse River trapped her and her husband inside for more than a day before the National Guard took them to a shelter.

Sunrise over Florence

Nearly six months passed before they could live in their house again.

When Florence hits, Sigmon said, she’ll be at her mother’s side.

“If the water comes in, she won’t have a way of getting help,” Sigmon said.

During Hurricane Matthew, the Neuse besieged Goldsboro. It swallowed streets and yards and barged into houses. Many of them had to be condemned.

Elmwood Cemetery in Goldsboro

Vera Harmon and her husband had just moved into their house two weeks before Matthew hit, only for the resulting flood to keep them out for three months.

“I’m just praying,” Harmon said. “I’m praying, and I’m believing that the Lord will turn this thing around and go another way.”

Harmon’s son is staying in Goldsboro with his wife and two young children.

They fled their home on the coast, knowing they might have to flee again.

“That is heartbreaking,” Harmon said. “I hate for those children to go through something like that.”